Channel 4 News in staff recruitment drive

ITN’s Channel 4 News operation is on a recruitment drive following the departure of four producers, writes Wale Azeez.

In the last month Jaldeep Katwala has left the news supplier to run a journalism training scheme in Serbia; Adam Vandermark has joined ITV1’s Tonight with Trevor McDonald at Granada; Sarfraz Manzoor has moved in-house at Channel 4, as one of three trainee factual deputy commissioning editors taken on as part of a scheme to increase diversity at the broadcaster; and arts news producer Zoë Silver has left to pursue documentary film making.

According to Channel 4 News deputy editor Martin Fewell, all four will be replaced, with at least two additional producers and “two or three” general reporters. Plans to recruit extra staff were made when ITN signed the additional contract to supply Channel 4 with a lunchtime bulletin, in the run-up to the war in Iraq.

“In the past three weeks, the bulletin has taken on a longer term shape. We are now in a position to recruit staff,” Fewell said. “We need a couple of producers for lunchtime, but there is also a vacancy for every news bulletin. It’s a pretty significant tranche of recruitment which comes from our new contract with Channel 4.”

Fewell added that the bulletin was in the process of integrating the afternoon and evening news teams. “Production staff swap between the two already,” he said.

Prospective producers will include those with a news background as well as others with film-making and writing experience. “We don’t expect them all to have the same skills – some will have specialisms. The whole drive of the TV industry is to increase the skills of all the production team, to raise each producer’s skills to broadcast quality.”

Of the producers who left, Fewell said it was “sad we’ve lost some good people”, but said it was also flattering for Channel 4 News when other broadcasters feel they can come to recruit skilled staff from the bulletin.

The bulletin hopes to have recruited the staff by September at the latest.

Wale Azeez

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