MEDIA: New editor for BBC London

Cath Hearne has been appointed editor of BBC London News, replacing Quentin Smith, who has started this week as output editor of the BBC's regional news programme, South East Today.

Hearne, currently editorial co-ordinator for the BBC's Nations and Regions department, will take up her new post on 20 August and reports to executive editor Mike Macfarlane.

The flagship for BBC London News is the half-hour bulletin after the Six O'Clock News, but local round-ups also go out with the main breakfast, daytime and evening national news broadcasts.

Hearne told PRWeek: 'The challenge is to find stories rooted in small communities but which resonate across the capital. For example, the Olympics bid will be a huge story for us, and I'll be following the impact on smaller communities around Hackney. But London is the biggest city in the EU and we need to give a real sense of size. Everyone who lives in the capital thinks they are important.'

With an increase in competition for providing local news, she added that it was important to make bulletins distinctive. 'They are not just throwaways at the end of programmes,' she said.

Hearne's current remit includes responsibility for the integration of regional coverage with network news and work on the move of all English Regions programming onto BBC1.

Hearne oversaw the launches of the new regional current affairs programme Inside Out and the transfer of the regional politics strands into Jeremy Vine's The Politics Show on BBC1. She has also worked on launches of BBC Breakfast and the Ten O'Clock News, in addition to managing the relaunch of new BBC regional newsroom sets and titles last summer.

Prior to her move to London, Hearne was a studio director at BBC North East and Cumbria, working on the regional current affairs programme. She has also worked for File on Four and was a director on Premier Passions, a BBC1 documentary series featuring Sunderland AFC.

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