KEVIN KELLY has been announced as the new head of news and current affairs at BBC Northern Ireland.
Kelly has been with the corporation for nearly 30 years, having first joined the team as a broadcast journalist in 1994.
He has been the acting head of news and current affairs since 2022, filling in since Adam Smyth left the position when appointed director of BBC Northern Ireland.
Kelly now has lead responsibility for the BBC’s news and current affairs output in Northern Ireland, including its newsroom operations in Belfast and Foyle.
The announcement comes just days after NUJ members at BBC Northern Ireland went on strike in protest against cuts to jobs and programming – with their walkout on Friday, May 19 affecting coverage of the Northern Ireland council election results.
Among the challenges he faces, Kelly will be expected to make savings within his department, while also improving BBC Northern Ireland’s digital offering.
“Kevin brings a breadth of experience and expertise to his new role,” BBC Northern Ireland stated while confirming his appointment this week.
Following the announcement, Kelly said: “It’s a privilege and an honour to be given the responsibility of leading BBC NI’s outstanding team of journalists, whose work is much valued by our audiences.
“The media and news landscape here is constantly evolving and I want to develop and grow the services that we provide and to make sure that they are a relevant and central part of the everyday lives of people here.”
He added: “Trusted and impartial journalism matters and it’s now more important than ever. “My role will be to support the BBC’s news teams in Belfast and Foyle in delivering first-class journalism that keeps audiences at its heart, both now and in the future.”
Kelly was previously editor of The Stephen Nolan Show on BBC Radio Ulster and Executive Producer of Nolan Live from 2006 to 2013.
Prior to that he was BBC Northern Ireland’s first News Field Producer, co-ordinating coverage of major news events including the Drumcree Parade years, the Northern Ireland peace talks that led to the Good Friday Agreement, and the Omagh Bombing.
He was also a Senior Producer with BBC Network News’ Ireland Bureau for many years, as well as spending a year working for the BBC in Sarajevo in 2003.