Increasing trend of BBC journalists going into PR

Another senior BBC journalist's resignation from the organisation last week illustrates an increasing trend of BBC figures flocking to the PR industry, observers claim.

Richard Sambrook: Joined Edelman as global vice-chairman
Richard Sambrook: Joined Edelman as global vice-chairman

Last week, the BBC's home affairs correspondent Andy Tighe joined the Home Office as head of news after almost 20 years at the broadcaster.

He joins at least six other senior BBC names who have quit to pursue PR roles in recent months. These include BBC business journalist Nils Blythe, who joins the Bank of England as interim comms head, and Craig Oliver, the controller of BBC Global News, who moved to be director of comms at 10 Downing Street.

Meanwhile, Edelman last year hired BBC's director of global news Richard Sambrook as global vice-chairman.

A senior source at one of the UK's biggest PR agencies said that approaches from BBC journalists had reached a peak in recent weeks.

'We've been inundated with CVs from BBC journalists,' said the source. 'We always get journalists expressing an interest in joining us, but at the moment it's just wall-to-wall BBC people.'

Another agency boss confirmed that they had seen the CVs of several senior BBC journalists land on their desks this month.

Ros Kindersley, MD of comms recruitment specialist JFL Search & Selection commented: 'We are seeing a huge increase in interest from journalists, producers and comms staff at the BBC who want to move on and are considering PR. They are used to being at the centre of a news agenda, can create news and stories themselves and have a certain discipline that can really complement a PR agency's offering.'

Observers claim the trend is likely to be early fall-out from the budget squeeze at the organisation. The BBC agreed to a cut of 16 per cent in real terms to its income from the licence fee last October and also agreed to take on additional costs, such as the running of the World Service.

That service itself is braced for 650 job losses before 2014, which means that 25 per cent of its workforce will be chopped.

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