BBC upgrades news PR job as Hutton report looms

LONDON - BBC News is beefing up its top PR role as it prepares for a further wave of criticism with the imminent release of the Hutton Inquiry report.

The broadcaster is looking to fill a newly created head of communications role for the news operation. A spokesman said the role will have extra responsibility for marketing, as well as managing the work of the existing six-strong publicity team. It will also have a direct reporting line to BBC director of communications Sally Osman.

The division has been without a communications chief for around a year, following the transfer of Alison Kelly from the role of head of publicity for BBC News to handle the lobbying battle to retain the corporation's licence fee.

A priority for the successful candidate will be to improve BBC News's reputation, which took a battering during the Hutton Inquiry into the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly.

The BBC spokesman denied the creation of the role was linked to the Hutton Inquiry. "It was decided last year that the role needed to be strengthened and there is no truth that it is linked with this inquiry," he said.

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