ITV’s Central News has hired its fifth editor in five years.
She is Liz Hannam whose previous job was head of news in Bristol.
The turn-around reflects growing uncertainly in the Birmingham based channel which has shrunk its news coverage over the past 6 years closing its Oxford studios and virtually reducing its East Midland coverage to an opt out halfway though the 6pm news show.
Ms Hannam’s signing means she returns to Birmingham where she started her career as a trainee journalist . She transferred to the now defunct Oxford arm of Central News where she rose to be producer.
She ultimately became head of news for Bristol and the West Country. There, she hit the headlines when she suspended high profile presenter Liza Aziz over allegations of fiddling expenses.
At Central, she will succeed editor Phil Braund who walked out earlier this month concerning a simmering row over the ITV corporate identity. Mr Braund wanted to produce a show his way. The company bosses wanted him to do it their way.
Ms Hannam is the second woman to edit Central News. Records show that Wendy Nelson, a former newsreader, was at the helm in the early eighties.
Central has been laden with a rocky track record since 2006 with viewing figures plummeting. In addition, its main newsreader Bob Warman has reduced his presence to three nights per week- as opposed to each of the five nights.
The new appointment could presage a new direction for the show. Ms Hannam is a career ITV broadcaster and may have been brought in, not only for her two decade long background in regional news, but also to carry forward ITV plans.
A tv insider told this site that the hiring of Ms Hannam signifies that ITV wants an identikit regional news show throughout Britain. ‘Wherever you go, you basically see the same programme when it comes to local news. Individuality has been squeezed out of ITV regional news.’
‘Ms Hannam is a company woman and will toe the line.’