The former president of NBC News, who left the system five years ago after a tumultuous tenure marred by the Brian Williams scandal, has been tapped to head BBC News.
Deborah Turness will helm the British public broadcaster’s 6,000 journalists after spending four years as a top executive at ITN and ITV News in the UK. At NBC, she was the first female to run an American community news division.
Generally, she presided over a division that became embroiled in a few scandals coming from the time she showed up in 2013 as NBC News president.
In 2015, Brian Williams, the anchor of the “NBC Nightly News,” was pushed from their seat and suspended once it had been shown he created exaggerated statements of his wartime reporting of his.
Williams was pressured to admit he lied as he claimed he was in a helicopter over Baghdad, which was focused on RPG fire by Iraqi insurgents in 2003.
Also, he reported having dropped with a situation of dysentery after drinking floodwater in New Orleans’ French Quarter in the wake of Hurricane Katrina – although that part of the community wasn’t flooded.
After an internal investigation, Williams was suspended for six weeks with no pay. He was permitted to continue his profession as host of a nightly talk show on cable news channel MSNBC. Since Williams’ departure from the “Nightly News,” the anchor chair continues to be filled by Lester Holt.
The choice by Turness in the period to suspend Williams rather than fire him outright reportedly outraged NBC News staffers.
Regarding Williams, he signed off for the final time at NBC in December, ending his 28-year career in the system.
And this was not only the Williams blowup which Turness presided over: In 2015, she was top of the media division when “Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory departed.
Despite Turness’ public statements of support for Gregory, weeks of speculation over his long term, which had been stimulated by sagging ratings for the Sunday political talk show, resulted in his exit. He was replaced by the existing moderator Chuck Todd.
NBC reinstalled former NBC News chairman Andrew Lack as head of the media division – rendering Turness the No. two executive in the division – once the Williams and Meet the Press controversies.
Though the problems were not over: In October 2016, NBC News came under fire following the Washington Post revealed the presence of a tape starring Donald Trump making lewd comments regarding females during the filming of an episode of “Access Hollywood.”
Although the tape had NBC, the media division waited until lawyers might vet the footage before reporting on it – enabling the Washington Post to mark the scoop.
In February 2017, Turness remained NBC News and became president of NBC News International, a recently created position.
BBC Director-General Tim Davie praised Turness on Thursday, thinking she “brings many experience, insight, outstanding editorial opinion, along with a solid history of delivery.”
“She is a passionate advocate for the strength of impartial journalism and also a fantastic believer in the BBC as well as the job we participate in, in the UK as well as globally,” he told BBC News.
Following Turness remaining NBC, she was hired to ITN as CEO of the UK-based manufacturing business whose attributes include ITV, Channel Four, and Channel five.
As head of BBC News, she will earn an annual wage of $540,000, based on the BBC. Turness will change Fran Unsworth, who announced her departure out of the system returned in September. Unsworth spent the past forty years in “the Beeb.”
“In the UK and all over the world, there has never beach better demand for the BBC’s effective manufacturer of impartial, reliable journalism,” Turness stated.