Gwyneth Henderson obituary


Lengthy earlier than the taunt of “pretend information” put trustworthy reporters on trial, my spouse, Gwyneth Henderson, who has died aged 80, was championing their trigger. As head for twenty years of the BBC World Service’s coaching division and subsequently in influential roles elsewhere, she was pushed by a cast-iron dedication to the very best requirements of public curiosity journalism.

Gwyneth was born in Whitby, North Yorkshire, to John Henderson, a civil engineer, and his spouse, Catherine (nee Bodycombe). Due to her father’s work, Gwyneth grew up in numerous locations, together with Nigeria, the place she developed a lifelong curiosity in Africa. After attending college in St Albans, Hertfordshire, she first educated to be a instructor, after which, within the early Nineteen Sixties, joined the BBC in London as a studio technician.

Within the late 60s she moved on to change into a radio producer within the African Service at Bush Home, the house of the BBC’s abroad providers. There she specialised in arts and academic programmes, and helped to pioneer African Theatrea venture whereby listeners had been invited to submit radio performs and the perfect had been aired.

After a spell engaged on radio programmes, together with a documentary sequence on latest historical past made with, and offered by, the journalist James Cameron, in 1977 she was chosen to run the World Service coaching operation, which embraced journalism, presenting and different radio broadcasting expertise. The vary of the coaching expanded significantly underneath Gwyneth’s steering and more and more attracted exterior demand for its experience.

Early in her tenure she herself spent six months coaching broadcasters in Hong Kong underneath a Commonwealth help scheme, and after the collapse of communism within the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia her division turned the “go to” place for newly rising democracies to ship journalists to review broadcasting greatest follow. A key course for high-flying broadcasters from such nations was a six-week immersion in British journalism referred to as Media within the UK.

In 2000 Gwyneth retired early from the BBC, however her profession within the service continued. She chaired the Open Society Basis’s media programme, which allotted funds for media initiatives all over the world, and ran coaching programs for the US abroad broadcasters Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty at its Prague studios. She additionally co-founded the charity Media Defence (initially referred to as Media Authorized Defence Initiative), which offers authorized assist globally to journalists dealing with makes an attempt to muzzle them, and chaired its trustees for 9 years.

With a eager eye for recognizing expertise, Gwyneth went out of her approach to enhance alternatives for ladies and members of under-represented communities, and inspired employees recruited to the BBC’s language providers to widen their profession ambitions.

She is survived by me, our daughter, Gwanwyn, grandsons Grayson and Osian, and her sisters Catherine and Margaret.


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