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Director, BBC Studios (formerly Director, England)

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In the age of twenty-four hour breaking news this phrase might belong to a bygone era, but it's crossed my mind more than a few times in the past few weeks.

Not only have we said our final and historic farewell to Oxford Road - the BBC2 special TV Greats - Our Favourites From The North - paid it a fine tribute at the weekend - but we have also begun to usher in a new era of journalism from these parts at MediaCityUK. 

So it seemed timely that CBBC's Newsround arrival in Salford should be honoured by the television industry with a Special Award at the weekend's Children's BAFTAs.

It really is worth singling out Newsround's role in more detail. For the last four decades Newsround has been the only constant news provider for children. Starting with the legendary John Craven, and followed by the likes of Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Kate Sanderson and Matthew Price, the programme has become a national institution, successfully helping generations of children to learn more about, and crucially come to terms with, the world around them.

  Today's presenters - Ore Oduba, Ricky Boleto, Leah Gooding and Hayley Cutts - continue this fine tradition. As well as the lighter side of news - from the latest technological developments to entertainment news - the programme has covered the most momentous and tragic events of the past 40 years. From the famines that inspired Band Aid, the events of 9/11 and 7/7, the tsunamis that ravaged the Far East to today's global recession, Newsround has delivered daily bulletins that have guided the audience through often incredibly complex issues with great clarity, balancing high quality journalism with sensitivity. And the programme's award-winning specials have covered everything from it's recent piece on autism to bullying and alcoholism, bringing a deeper perspective to stories that all too often impact directly on the audiences' own lives. 

In today's world of instant and continuous global news, Newsround provides a safe harbour for children to learn the facts behind often sensationalised headlines and it's hard not to believe that it makes a real difference in their lives. In fact, I'm in no doubt that since that first programme over forty years ago it has kicked started and inspired the careers of more than a few journalists beyond its own past presenters. 

Another example of the BBC's high standard of journalism is to be found in our regional programmes and just yesterday the BBC's North West regional news programmes became the latest slice of news to begin broadcasting live from Salford Quays and I was one of the first guests to join Ranvir and Roger on the sofa for North West Tonight in the evening. I felt very honoured as I mumbled a few answers about our new venture.

  Our regional news teams, those journalists who work on our North West programmes as well as their colleagues in BBC Radio Manchester, have been the cornerstone of journalism across the region for decades. From the tragedies of Hillsborough and the Jamie Bulger case through to the recent riots that rocked Salford and Manchester, from the Commonwealth Games in 2002 to Manchester United's success in the triple, they have not only covered the major stories from across the region in depth and with outstanding and award-winning journalism but also given a voice to local communities.

Last week has also seen the final pieces of the Radio 5 live jigsaw fall into place. The arrival of the Breakfast show with Nicky Campbell and Rachel Burden, Fighting Talk with Colin Murray and football phone-in 606 marked the moment when Radio 5 live became the first national radio network to broadcast its entire output from beyond London.

  And over the tough weekend, given the sad loss of a close colleague and friend in Gary Speed, our teams performed strongly.

But as we begin to establish a new base for BBC journalism here on Salford Quays we also have to face the challenge of making savings and finding new efficiencies across the whole organisation. These measures will have an impact on our local radio and television colleagues across both the region and the whole of the UK but these are challenging times for everyone in the public sector not just the BBC. Inevitably there will be changes and cuts in some areas, but our commitment to reinvestment means that we will continue to safeguard and champion local journalism for the long-term, and keep the BBC firmly embedded in the communities that it has always represented. And as Mark Thompson said only last week, we continue to listen to the concerns of our audience and they still have the opportunity to have their say as part of the consultation process on Delivering Quality First.

  We are also playing our part in supporting and landing  some massive events in the North. Following the huge success of Children In Need Rocks, we are now planning another warm welcome for two of the biggest events in the BBC's calendar. On 13 December we launch Celebrate Sport where some of the BBC's best sports brands come together in a two-week festival of events that will culminate in Sports Personality Of The Year. And on 17 December, Strictly Come Dancing will trip the light fantastic with its final at the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool.

    In the manner of the best news bulletins, it seems appropriate to end with "and finally" and news about some wonderful collaboration here involving the brilliant BBC Philharmonic. Last week the BBC announced its extensive contribution to and support of the Cultural Olympiad next year. It's hard to believe how close the 2012 Olympics suddenly feel and that reality is brought a little closer to home as the BBC Philharmonic is the orchestra that will be performing with Elbow when they record their 2012 BBC Olympics signature track here in the studios at Salford Quays. It's been a fantastic year for our orchestra and this is just the icing on the cake in a year when they will have worked with everyone from Radio One Xtra to the Manchester United Community Choir, Mayo and Kermode to Morning Worship - and finally Elbow and BBC Sport.

When I was a young journalist, with my first ever BBC contract working at Oxford Road on R4's superb File on 4, if you'd told me I would have been writing this article about the above events from our new  digital home in Salford Quays, I'd have said we've taken a trip way beyond journalism into the realms of fantasy and fiction. 

It's been that kind of year...

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