Jon Williams, Managing Director, RTÉ News & Current Affairs has confirmed today, (21 June 2022) that he will leave RTÉ at the end of July.
In a note to staff today he said:
“In 2017, we faced significant challenges and set out to future-proof RTÉ News & Current Affairs, identifying three editorial priorities: to become a genuinely ‘digital-first’ news organisation; to deliver more regional content; and to work more closely as ‘one News and Current Affairs’ division. Fast forward five years, and last week’s Reuters Digital News Report demonstrated that, today, not only is RTÉ the most trusted news source in Ireland, but RTÉ News is also the clear market leader online, while cementing its place as the number one choice on radio and TV.
We’ve gained new, younger audiences by creating and curating different types of content for social platforms. We’ve strengthened our weekend evening bulletins – frequently the most watched of any RTÉ programmes – with an increased presence outside Dublin. And whether it’s RTÉ Investigates, our recent deployment to Ukraine and the work on climate change, today the newsroom and current affairs are working more closely together than ever.
RTÉ News & Current Affairs was Ireland’s lifeline during the pandemic, with our trusted team providing the antidote to the fake news of anti-vaxers. We brought innovation to our coverage of the 2020 General Election. Our reporting of Brexit continues to be indispensable to many, not just in Ireland but across Europe – and in Britain too. We were on the ground as Russian troops crossed into Ukraine, reporting on the humanitarian crisis there, and here. Ní hamháin i mBéarla ach i nGaeilge freisin, rud a léirionn an rói tablachtach a bhíonn ag foireann Baile na hAbhann gach lá, ag bailiú nuachta i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge. RTÉ News is the first Irish news organisation to be independently audited as part of the Journalism Trust Initiative and awarded the European standard for trusted journalism. And we’ve worked with the NUJ, and others to ensure that RTÉ’s journalists are safer as they go about their work – whether the threat is online or outside.
We’re in the process of doubling RTÉ’s footprint overseas and we’ve begun to become a more diverse news organisation, on air and off. I’m proud that the Six One News was the first news programme in Ireland to be presented by two women – only broken-hearted that Keelin didn’t get longer to enjoy her success.
Nine years after I left London for New York and then Ireland, it’s time to go home. I chose to stay in Dublin during the pandemic, alone and unable to see those I love for long periods of time. I don’t mind admitting that I found that hard – and like so many others, it forced me to reassess my priorities and to prize family.
I’m grateful to so many people in the field, in the control room, in Dublin, across Ireland and beyond. The truth matters. Ireland is a better place for RTÉ. We stand on the shoulders of giants and to have had the opportunity to lead RTÉ News and Current Affairs has been the greatest privilege. I’m proud – and grateful beyond measure – for all that we have achieved together. I know RTÉ News and Current Affairs will continue to do great work. And know that I will be cheering you on from afar.”
Dee Forbes, Director General, RTÉ paid tribute to Jon:
“I would like to thank Jon Williams for the passion and dedication to journalism that he has brought to his role since day one. He has also been a hugely valued member of the RTÉ’s executive board and on behalf of the wider organisation I want to thank him for his contribution to RTÉ during his five and half years. As Jon returns to the UK to spend time with his family, he can do so in the knowledge that he has left a strong legacy.”