|Born||Francesca Mary Unsworth|
29 December 1957
Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, England
|Residence||Marylebone, London, England|
|Alma mater||University of Manchester|
|Title||Director of News & Current Affairs, BBC News|
Francesca Mary "Fran" Unsworth (born 29 December 1957) is a British journalist and media executive. Since January 2018 she has been  Director, News & Current Affairs for BBC News. She was appointed in succession to James Harding. Before then she served in various senior positions in the BBC, including director of the BBC World Service Group. Previously she was Acting Director of News at the BBC from November 2012 until August 2013 and a member of the BBC's executive board. In 2013 she was appointed Deputy Director of News and Current Affairs.
Early life and education
A native of in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, Unsworth attended St Dominic's High School for Girls, an independent grammar school in Stoke-on-Trent. She studied drama at the University of Manchester.
Unsworth began her broadcasting career in local radio, working at BBC Radio Leicester and BBC Radio Bristol, before going on to become Producer of Radio 1's Newsbeat. In 1990 she moved to Radio 4 and was based in Washington as a radio producer for the network during the Gulf crisis of 1990–1991. She worked as a producer on The World at One and PM while at Radio 4.
She moved to the BBC's Newsgathering Department in 1993, where she had responsibility for UK domestic news, and was a producer and editor for the BBC One O'Clock News and the BBC Six O'Clock News. Unsworth was appointed Head of Newsgathering in January 2005.
In December 2005, Unsworth appeared on the BBC's Newswatch programme, facing accusations of double standards in BBC News reporting of racial crimes when white people were the victims. Complainants suggested the BBC buried stories such as the racist murder of Kriss Donald, with comparable murders involving black victims given twelve times more coverage and the opening of an arts centre in Gateshead reported in preference to Donald's murder. Unsworh admitted the case had not been covered sufficiently and that there had been space to do so. Her department again failed to cover the case adequately the following year. In 2011 BBC News was criticised for referring to looters in the 2011 London riots as "protesters", even two days into the violence. In response to 62 complaints about the matter, Unsworth conceded that the BBC had been wrong to do so.
In November 2012, Unsworth was appointed Acting Director of News after Helen Boaden stepped aside while Nick Pollard prepared his report into the BBC's non-coverage of the burgeoning Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal. She ceased this role in August 2013 and was appointed Deputy Director of News and Current Affairs. In November 2013, Unsworth was replaced as Head of Newsgathering by Jonathan Munro.
Unsworth was president of the Society of Editors between 2011–12, and is a board member of the organisation. She is also a board member of the European Union's Erasmus Mundus programme.
In August 2014, Unsworth ordered helicopter filming of a police raid on a mansion belonging to Cliff Richard. The coverage led to the singer suing the BBC for breach of privacy. On 8 May 2018 The Guardian reported that, "Sir Cliff Richard is seeking a payment of at least £560,000 from the BBC following the broadcaster’s coverage of a police raid at his home in 2014". In July 2018 Sir Cliff won his case for damages.
- Inside the BBC, Executive Committee, Francesca Unsworth, Director, News and Current Affairs retrieved 1 February 2018
- "BBC appoints Fran Unsworth as next head of news". BBC News. 15 December 2017. Archived from the original on 15 December 2017. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
- "BBC – Francesca Unsworth, Director, BBC World Service Group and Deputy Director of News and Current Affairs – Inside the BBC". Bbc.co.uk. Archived from the original on 20 November 2017. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
- Toffs at the top Archived 7 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine., PressGazette.co.uk; accessed 21 September 2017.
- "Profile: Francesca Unsworth". BBC News. 12 November 2012. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- Presenter:Raymond Snoddy , Interviewee: Fran Unsworth (11 December 2005). "NewsWatch". NewsWatch. London, UK. BBC. BBC 1, BBC News Channel. Archived from the original on 20 October 2006.
- Presenter:Raymond Snoddy, Interviewee: Peter Horrocks (30 October 2006). "NewsWatch". NewsWatch. London, UK. BBC. BBC 1, BBC News Channel. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013.
- The BBC Trust (23 January 2008). "Editorial Standards Findings: Appeals to the Trust and other editorial standards matters considered by the Editorial Standards Committee" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
- "London riots: BBC criticised for branding thugs as 'protesters'". Telegraph.co.uk. Archived from the original on 22 September 2017. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 October 2017. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
- "BBC news executives 'step aside'". BBC News. 12 November 2012. Archived from the original on 8 April 2013. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
- "Fran Unsworth named new director of BBC News". Digital Spy. 12 November 2012. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
- "BBC News announces two new senior appointments". BBC. Archived from the original on 24 November 2017. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
- "Society of Editors, Fighting for media freedom". Societyofeditors.co.uk. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
- "Society of Editors 2012: Show goes on despite the notable absentees". Press Gazette. Archived from the original on 22 September 2017. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
- "Fighting for media freedom". Society of Editors. Archived from the original on 11 August 2014. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
- "BBC DECLARATION OF PERSONAL INTERESTS" (PDF). Downloads.bbc.co.uk. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 August 2014. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
- BBC staff handed Twitter ban: Acting news boss pleads with unhappy workers to stay silent over abuse row Archived 19 June 2014 at Archive.is, Dailymail.co.uk; accessed 21 September 2017.
- Bowcott, Owen (2018-04-12). "Coverage of raid on Cliff Richard's home was in public interest, BBC tells court". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
BBC World Service