Helen Boaden

Helen Boaden

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Helen Boaden is the director of BBC News
BBC News
BBC News is the department of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs. The department is the world's largest broadcast news organisation and generates about 120 hours of radio and television output each day, as well as online...

, part of the world’s biggest broadcast news operation (BBC Journalism). Boaden controls much of the BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

's domestic news output along with current affairs, including programmes such as Newsnight
Newsnight is a BBC Television current affairs programme noted for its in-depth analysis and often robust cross-examination of senior politicians. Jeremy Paxman has been its main presenter for over two decades....

and Panorama
Panorama (TV series)
Panorama is a BBC Television current affairs documentary programme, which was first broadcast in 1953, and is the longest-running public affairs television programme in the world. Panorama has been presented by many well known BBC presenters, including Richard Dimbleby, Robin Day, David Dimbleby...



Boaden attended Colchester County High School for Girls and Cedars Grammar School, Leighton Buzzard before gaining a BA
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 Hons in English Literature
English literature
English literature is the literature written in the English language, including literature composed in English by writers not necessarily from England; for example, Robert Burns was Scottish, James Joyce was Irish, Joseph Conrad was Polish, Dylan Thomas was Welsh, Edgar Allan Poe was American, J....

 at the University of Sussex
University of Sussex
The University of Sussex is an English public research university situated next to the East Sussex village of Falmer, within the city of Brighton and Hove. The University received its Royal Charter in August 1961....

. In 1999, she gained an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
The Wharton School is the business school of the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Wharton was the world’s first collegiate business school and the first business school in the United States...



Boaden started as a journalist with the New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

 radio station WBAI
WBAI, a part of the Pacifica Radio Network, is a non-commercial, listener-supported radio station, broadcasting at 99.5 FM in New York City.Its programming is leftist/progressive, and a mixture of political news and opinion from a leftist perspective, tinged with aspects of its complex and varied...

 in 1979. On returning to the UK, she took a course in Radio Journalism
Broadcast journalism
Broadcast journalism is the field of news and journals which are "broadcast", that is, published by electrical methods, instead of the older methods, such as printed newspapers and posters. Broadcast methods include radio , television , and, especially recently, the Internet generally...

 at the London College of Printing (now the London College of Communication). After Radio Tees
Radio Tees
Radio Tees was the original name of TFM Radio, the Independent Local Radio station broadcasting in North East England, serving Teesside and parts of County Durham and North Yorkshire....

 and Radio Aire, she joined the BBC in 1983 as a news producer with Radio Leeds. From there, she joined BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

 as a reporter on the File on 4
File on 4
File on 4 is a current-affairs radio programme broadcast on BBC Radio 4. It is produced in Manchester by the BBC's Radio Current Affairs department, and has won more than 40 awards.- External links :* *...

series, then as its editor from 1991. Boaden worked from the BBC in Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 as a presenter for Woman's Hour
Woman's Hour
Woman's Hour is a radio magazine programme broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in the United Kingdom.-History:Created by Norman Collins and originally presented by Alan Ivimey the programme was first broadcast on 7 October 1946 on the BBC's Light Programme . It was transferred to its current home in 1973...

and later presented other documentaries for Radio 4, and also for the Brass Tacks political programme on BBC Two
BBC Two is the second television channel operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom. It covers a wide range of subject matter, but tending towards more 'highbrow' programmes than the more mainstream and popular BBC One. Like the BBC's other domestic TV and radio...


In 1997, she became the BBC's head of business programmes, then in 1998 head of current affairs - the first woman to hold this position. She was controller of Radio 4 from March 2000 until 20 September 2004, superseded by Mark Damazer
Mark Damazer
Mark Damazer CBE is the Master of St Peter's College, Oxford, and a former controller of BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 7 in the United Kingdom.He is the son of a Polish-Jewish delicatessen owner in Willesden in North London....

. She became controller of BBC7 in 2002, when the station started. She succeeded Richard Sambrook
Richard Sambrook
Richard Sambrook is Global Vice Chairman and Chief Content Officer of the Edelman public relations agency. For 30 years, until February 2010, he was a BBC journalist and news executive, becoming successively Director of BBC Sport, BBC News and, latterly, Director of BBC World Service and Global...

 as director of BBC News in 2004, for which she is said to earn between £310,000 and £340,000 pa, plus bonuses.

She appeared on the 35th anniversary edition of Just A Minute
Just a Minute
Just a Minute is a BBC Radio 4 radio comedy panel game chaired by Nicholas Parsons. Its first transmission on Radio 4 was on 22 December 1967, three months after the station's launch. The Radio 4 programme won a Gold Sony Radio Academy Award in 2003....

in 2003. The subject she set was "Why has Just a Minute lasted so long?"

Boaden is a Fellow of The Radio Academy
Radio Academy
The Radio Academy is a registered charity that is dedicated to 'the encouragement, recognition and promotion of excellence in UK broadcasting and audio production'....


Awards and honours

Helen Boaden has won Sony Awards
Sony Radio Academy Awards
The Sony Radio Academy Awards , started in 1983, are some of the most prestigious awards in the British radio industry. They are run by ZAFER Associates in association with the Radio Academy...

 for a programme on AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 in Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, and bullying in Feltham Young Offenders Institution when at File on 4
File on 4
File on 4 is a current-affairs radio programme broadcast on BBC Radio 4. It is produced in Manchester by the BBC's Radio Current Affairs department, and has won more than 40 awards.- External links :* *...

. Radio 4 won the Gold Award for Station of the Year in 2003 and 2004. In 1990, Boaden won awards from the Industrial Society
Industrial society
In sociology, industrial society refers to a society driven by the use of technology to enable mass production, supporting a large population with a high capacity for division of labour. Such a structure developed in the west in the period of time following the Industrial Revolution, and replaced...

 for her work on safety standards in the oil industry. She has honorary degrees from Suffolk College
Suffolk College
Suffolk College or Suffolk University may refer to:* Suffolk College of Arts and Sciences, part of:** Suffolk University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA* University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich, UK* Suffolk County Community College, Selden, New York, USA...

, the University of Sussex
University of Sussex
The University of Sussex is an English public research university situated next to the East Sussex village of Falmer, within the city of Brighton and Hove. The University received its Royal Charter in August 1961....

, and the University of York
University of York
The University of York , is an academic institution located in the city of York, England. Established in 1963, the campus university has expanded to more than thirty departments and centres, covering a wide range of subjects...

. She is on the committee of the Sony Radio Academy.

Personal life

Boaden is married to Stephen Burley, who works for the London Evening Standard
Evening Standard
The Evening Standard, now styled the London Evening Standard, is a free local daily newspaper, published Monday–Friday in tabloid format in London. It is the dominant regional evening paper for London and the surrounding area, with coverage of national and international news and City of London...


External links