Ben de Pear to step down as Channel 4 News Editor

Ben de Pear is stepping down as editor of Channel 4 News after almost ten years in the post.  

He has delivered a bold and unique editorial strategy to push boundaries and hold the powerful to account, as well as building a major worldwide digital presence, with agenda-setting original journalism and world-class investigations, including the undercover exposé of Cambridge Analytica.

De Pear is ITN’s most-awarded ever editor and under his leadership Channel 4 News has won hundreds of prestigious awards including RTS News Programme of the Year four times; six International Emmys, five BAFTAs and has been nominated for an Oscar.

He also led the Channel 4 News team from the newsroom throughout the pandemic and despite unprecedented operational challenges, met increased demand for trusted, critical information with fast turnaround, longer programming and specials, resulting in record numbers of people tuning in and watching online.

During this period, his team produced rigorous health reporting and ground-breaking investigations into scientific and government advice, helping the programme secure a six-year audience high in March 2020. This included Scotland’s care home failings; the disproportionality of the impact of Covid-19 on ethnic minority communities; the crisis in PPE stockpiles and contracts and concerns surrounding the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine on younger people amongst many others.

De Pear joined Channel 4 News as foreign producer in 2005, winning multiple awards such as for coverage of conflicts in Lebanon, Congo, Somalia, and Afghanistan amongst other places. He became foreign editor in 2008 and was appointed editor in August 2012.

He has overseen the programme’s coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement, UK and US elections, Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields, the Inside Aleppo series and the London and Paris terror attacks, as well as world-beating exclusive investigations including the Cambridge Analytica undercover exposé, the Trump administration’s attempts to “Deter Democracy”, and more recently the Exxon Mobil and Ghislaine Maxwell revelations. During this period Channel 4 News also became the biggest news programme on social media on the UK.

De Pear will continue to oversee the programme until the end of the year, including extensive climate coverage ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow and the ongoing situation in Afghanistan.

Following his departure, he plans to pursue a career in long-form TV content and film, having executive produced the Oscar-nominated feature documentary “For Sama”, which began as a series of news reports – with over half a billion views – and has gone on to become one of the most awarded documentaries of all time. Telling the story of the war in Syria from the unique perspective of its female protagonist, Waad Al-Kateab, it has secured well over 100 awards, including Cannes, BAFTA, Best Documentary and British Film at BIFA, and the Griersons, an Emmy as well as an Oscar nomination for Channel 4 News.

Ben de Pear said: “I have loved every minute of being editor of Channel 4 News and it has been an honour to lead the best, most exceptional and inspiring TV journalists in the world. The programme fulfils all the greatest aspects of public service broadcasting; reporting the facts, holding the powerful to account, investigating wrong-doing and corruption and giving the voiceless and marginalised a place where they can be seen and heard. The one-of-a-kind combination of Channel 4 and ITN have fostered this uniquely brilliant and independent programme and long may it continue to do so. I am also very proud of our record of creating the most diverse and creative newsroom in the UK fulfilling the remit of Channel 4 to the letter. It will now be someone else’s privilege to lead the most outstanding, funny, awkward, uncompromising journalists anywhere on the planet, who never take no for an answer and stop at nothing to get to the truth.”

Deborah Turness, CEO of ITN said: “Ben is a brilliant journalist and an outstanding award-winning editor. He has led Channel 4 News to extraordinary highs. No newsroom leader in ITN’s history has won more awards or broken more exclusives. His passion and commitment, energy and enterprise mean he has fearlessly driven a distinctive, high-impact agenda, holding the powerful to account, and challenging expectations with compelling journalism, hard-hitting investigations, and unrivalled foreign news. His leadership during the pandemic ensured ITN not only reacted quickly with new working practices but continued to provide the hour-long Channel 4 News programme uninterrupted throughout, as well as many extra hours of coverage. He has fostered an open and diverse editorial culture and newsroom which we will seek to continue.

“ITN and Channel 4 look forward to continuing their award-winning relationship with Ben as he moves into the world of long-form content. We’d like to wish him every great fortune in the future and thank him for his extraordinary contribution.”

Channel 4, Head of News and Current Affairs, Louisa Compton said: ”Ben is not just the most talented editor of his generation, but the most talented editor Channel 4 News has ever seen. His unique blend of editorial genius, vision and inspirational leadership skills have seen Channel 4 News soar to huge successes. Under Ben, Channel 4 News has broken more stories than any of its competitors and held power to account in a way not seen elsewhere. Ben has also championed diversity and driven huge digital successes in the newsroom. I have loved working with Ben and will miss him enormously but look forward to working with him in the future.”

Ian Katz, Channel 4 Chief Content Officer said: “Ben is a fearless, principled and passionate editor who has made Channel 4 News the pre-eminent in-depth news programme in the UK, as well as a world leading force in digital news.  I’ve had both the misfortune of having to compete with him as a programme editor and the privilege of working with him as a colleague and have seen from both perspectives his extraordinary commitment to telling the stories other parts of the media won’t, and to digging deeper on the stories they will. We are immensely grateful for everything he has done for the programme and the channel. He leaves huge boots to fill but I’m delighted that he’ll be continuing to work with us on long form programmes.”

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