'Middle East job was made for me'

BBC Rome correspondent Jeremy Bowen has been made the corporation’s first Middle East editor.

The BBC said the new role has been designed to enhance the audience’s understanding of the Middle East.

Bowen,
who starts in September, told Press Gazette: “I’m delighted – the job
was made for me. In fact I’d been onto the BBC for ages asking them to
create this job as I thought there was a real need for it and that I
could do it well, so it has come together.

“I think it’s a good
idea to have someone like the Europe editor, which Mark Mardell has
just become, who can pull it [the coverage] all together, see the big
picture and give an indication of where it’s heading. When I was in
Jerusalem I was covering the daily story and wasn’t able to step back.
Now I’ll be able to add value to the correspondents.

“There is a
massive appetite for the Middle East at the moment and it’s probably
the most important story in world terms. The BBC’s coverage is very
comprehensive but it needs something extra, which I can give it.”

Bowen
spent five years in Jerusalem as the BBC’s Middle East correspondent
from 1995 to 2000. Last year he was part of the BBC team that won the
Sony Gold award for news story of the year, on Saddam Hussein’s capture.

He
has also won an RTS award for his work on the assassination of the
Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and is a seasoned war
correspondent, reporting from more than 70 countries, and covering
conflicts in the Gulf, El Salvador, Lebanon, the West Bank,
Afghanistan, Croatia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Somalia, Rwanda, Iraq, Algeria
and Kosovo.

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