News focus for BBC hire

The BBC has appointed a senior government comms expert as part of a plan to better communicate its news-gathering prowess.

John Shields, currently director of communications at the Department for Communities and Local Government, is set to join the broadcaster in September as head of comms for journalism.

Shields will work alongside deputy director general Mark Byford, director of news Helen Boaden and recently installed comms director Ed Williams.

Shields has previously worked for four cabinet officers, including Ruth Kelly and Alan Johnson. He is also a former press officer for Number 10.

Williams said the appointment was one of a number that would be made over the next six months.

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