New appointments announced by ITN in its foreign news department confirm the commitment to overseas coverage on ITV, according to ITV news editor Nigel Dacre.
Angela Frier has been appointed head of foreign news and managing editor for ITV News, while Ian Glover James has been made senior foreign news editor.
A new international editor will also be appointed to run the diplomatic and foreign affairs unit.
Frier joined ITN in 1980, helped set up Channel 4’s newsdesk when it launched in 1982 and was made foreign editor in 1987. She will take responsibility for management of the newsdesk, the news bureaux and relations with the ITV regional companies and news agencies.
Day-to-day running of the foreign desk will be the responsibility of Glover James, who set up ITN’s first bureau in Moscow.
Job losses announced last year raised concerns that ITN’s foreign reporting would suffer because of a cut of £10m in its contract and the determination of ITV’s news chiefs to follow a more tabloid agenda, with increased showbiz and consumer news.
But Dacre said the cuts had focused on management jobs in the foreign news department rather than its journalists.
"We had to cut the cost base down after the new contract, but we were determined to protect out coverage at the sharp end," said Dacre. "It’s very important that we maintain our bureaux, so that when a big story breaks, as in the Congo or in Cuba, we can get a top reporter on the story."
Changes have also been announced at the Washington bureau, one of ITN’s six around the world, with Robert Moore taking over as its correspondent. He replaces James Mates who is returning to London as a news correspondent.
Industry insiders argue that ITN’s formidable reputation for foreign reporting is being eroded due to fewer resources being available for international coverage. But Dacre claims that the news producer is holding its ground overseas.
"We have reduced the number of managers in the department, but we have a very strong management team now and we’ve already shown that we can break stories and be distinctive in our international reporting," said Dacre. "I know that ITV is very pleased and proud of our coverage." At home, Shiulie Ghosh has been promoted to home affairs editor from correspondent and Chris Choi has been promoted to an editor’s role from being consumer correspondent.
By Julie Tomlin