A BBC News editor who was involved in its controversial reporting of a police raid on singer Sir Cliff Richard’s home has been promoted to head of TV and online news for BBC England.
Declan Wilson managed the BBC’s northern bureau for almost a decade and was in charge when reporter Dan Johnson came to him with the story about historical sex abuse allegations against Sir Cliff.
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The singer always denied the claims against him, which were later dropped.
Sir Cliff won a privacy complaint against the BBC last year over its footage of a police raid on the star’s Berkshire home on 14 August 2014, which included use of a helicopter.
Wilson was on annual leave when the raid took place.
The BBC is estimated to have paid out close to £2m, including damages and court costs, after it decided not to appeal the case.
Wilson’s role at BBC England has been newly created by the corporation to establish a single editorial chief with overall responsibility for news content in the region in a shake-up of senior management.
Earlier this year Press Gazette reported that the BBC would cut the number of senior managers working for local radio and TV in England in the region’s biggest leadership restructure for 50 years.
Declan has worked at the BBC for 21 years. He led the expansion of the BBC’s World Service to Korea and is currently working on a project to expand mobile journalism at the BBC.
Wilson said he believes “passionately in the power and importance of regional journalism” and wants to grow the BBC’s regional news content online.
When combined, the BBC One 6.30pm regional news bulletins, which follow the national News at Six broadcast, have the “highest overnight viewing figures of any live news broadcast in England”, the BBC claims.
Wilson said: “The BBC’s regional TV news service remains remarkably popular and has been incredibly resilient in the face of big shifts in how people consume news.
“That’s testament to the hard work of our teams in newsrooms across England who make informative and engaging journalism that resonates with audiences.
“I want to build on that success. Our online content also reaches big audiences while being distinctive and that’s something I want to grow.”
Picture: Reuters/Peter Nicholls