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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 July, 2004, 15:05 GMT 16:05 UK
Boaden takes news hot seat
Radio 4 controller Helen Boaden
Helen Boaden takes over from Richard Sambrook
Newly-appointed director of BBC News Helen Boaden has had a distinguished career in news and current affairs.

The 48-year-old controller of Radio 4 has held a succession of influential posts within the corporation, including a stint as head of current affairs - the first woman appointed to the post.

Born and educated in Essex, she went to school in her home county and in East Anglia before winning a place at the University of Sussex.

After finishing her degree she went to live in the US, where she began her journalistic career in 1979 at New York radio station WBAI.

She joined the BBC in 1983 after returning to Britain, becoming a news producer for Radio Leeds.


Ms Boaden soon moved up through the ranks, becoming a reporter and then editor of Radio 4's flagship weekly current affairs programme File on 4, where she won a Sony award for best current affairs programme for a report on Aids in Africa.

A second Sony award followed, along with a wide range of awards for specialist journalism.

She became known as a regular presenter of Woman's Hour from Manchester, and in 1997 after 18 years with the BBC she was made head of business programmes.

A year later she was appointed head of current affairs, a post she held for two years, before becoming controller of Radio 4 in March 2000. She was also appointed controller of BBC 7.

Ms Boaden has steered Radio 4 to success, despite the station's flagship morning news programme Today becoming mired in the political controversy that led to the Hutton Report.

Under her stewardship, Radio 4 clinched the station of the year prize at this year's Sony Radio Awards. It was also named the UK's most popular radio station in the National Broadcast Media Survey.


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