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Channel 4 News strengthens Leeds newsroom team

Darshna Soni will be C4 News' Leeds-based communities editor

Channel 4 News has continued to increase its presence in Leeds with a raft of new appointments.

Former home affairs correspondent Darshna Soni has been appointed to the new role of communities editor, based out of the Leeds newsroom. In her new role Darshna will report on issues impacting all communities across the UK and stories driven from the Leeds hub.

Meanwhile, Sunita Bhatti has been named as Channel 4 News’ first head of regions. Bhatti currently oversees the learning and identity team at the BBC in Leeds – with education, disability and LGBTQ+ stories and issues on her beat. Previously she was a news editor for the BBC North of England team.

Channel 4 News has also boosted its digital team in Leeds with the appointment of Helen Johnson as a factcheck journalist. She joins from National World, where she’s a senior reporter, specialising in health.

The moves follow the appointment in October of Sally Chesworth, in the new role of deputy head of home news, also working out of the Leeds newsroom, where her brief is focused on generating original journalism. Sally has previously worked on original and investigative strands at BBC Panorama, Newsnight and File on 4.

Editor of Channel 4 News, Esme Wren, said: “These new appointments add great strength to our Leeds output and reporting across the UK. Darshna has been a central part of our team over many years, landing numerous exclusives and winning multiple awards. This new role recognises her ability to tell stories from communities often ignored by mainstream TV news.

“Sunita has a deep understanding of how national issues can and should be told from outside of London as well as great experience in telling important regional stories too.”

Soni added: “Communities across the country are facing unprecedented challenges and pressures and I’m keen to reveal their stories. I’m lucky enough to be able to do this with the brilliant team at Channel 4 News, which really is the best in the business.”

Channel 4 News is cuurently the only national news bulletin with a permanent base outside London and is due to move into a new purpose-built studio and newsroom in Leeds next year.

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