Media correspondent Torin Douglas to leave BBC

Torin Douglas Torin Douglas is to leave the BBC at the end of May after 24 years

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Torin Douglas will be stepping down from his role as the BBC's media correspondent after 24 years.

His departure is partly explained by DQF cuts to the arts and entertainment department.

'One job in our unit has to go in this financial year and so it makes more sense for me to go,' Douglas exclusively tells Ariel.

He adds: 'It's a good time - I've been doing this job for 24 years, which means I've basically been on call all that time, and I'd just like to do a bit less work and do some other things.'

Douglas's departure was reported on Thursday in The Guardian, and already he's had some offers of work.

The correspondent is planning to take the summer off after leaving the BBC at the end of May, but he will not retire.

Freelance work will include speaking engagements and chairing events. He will also continue as treasurer of the Broadcasting Press Guild and will do some work for the Media Trust.

Douglas joined the BBC in 1989, at a time when there was deep scepticism that a specialist media journalist was needed.

Remembering his very first day at the Corporation, the journalist says he met Brian Redhead, who was co-presenter of the Today programme. 'I was introduced as the BBC's new media correspondent and he said, "Oh well, I hope you get a proper job one day." That was my welcome to the BBC.'

Since then, Douglas has reported on the work of six BBC director generals and six BBC chairmen.

One of the biggest stories of his career was related to the resignation of former director general Greg Dyke and chairman Gavyn Davies within 24 hours of each other because of the Hutton Report.

The death of Diana, Princess of Wales, rates as another huge story he's covered. 'It was very much linked to the media and whether the paparazzi had played a part in her death. I was on the air every day for a fortnight with that story. That was a big one.'

He also doesn't neglect to mention the recent Savile crisis and the departure of George Entwistle after only 54 days as director general. 'That was as big as anything I've had to cover,' he states.

The journalist, who's been reporting on media for 40 years, says he's looking forward to having more time for deeper reflection. 'I just want to reflect and think about things. When you are on the daily treadmill it's often hard to reflect.'

What has kept him interested all this time is the fast-moving media landscape and how it has changed the BBC beyond recognition.

When he started there was no 5 live, no 24-hour news operation and no BBC website; he was mainly reporting for Radio 4 and using razors to cut tapes and make packages.

While the changes have made the role of media correspondent a crucial one, it has come at a price. 'We are all working on fewer resources … even the BBC, which is comparatively well funded, is having to lose posts and that makes it harder when everybody is demanding more,' judges Douglas.

Arts correspondent David Sillito will now be taking on Douglas's responsibilities in addition to his own. His departing colleague believes it will be 'a significant workload'.

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