Political Editor Mark Devenport, Senior Journalists Mervyn Jess, Maggie Taggart and Investigations Correspondent Kevin Magee will bring a close to their time with the Corporation as part of the BBC-wide voluntary redundancy trawl announced in June of this year.
Adam Smyth, Head of BBC News NI, says: “Mark, Kevin, Maggie and Mervyn have reported on, investigated and uncovered countless significant stories in the public interest with the utmost diligence, tenacity, expertise and impartiality. They are embedded in the fabric of the BBC News NI newsroom and BBC Northern Ireland as a whole and the professionalism and dedication they have given to their craft has been beyond inspiring. While we will miss them as respected colleagues, mentors and, most of all, friends, we are happy for them and wish them every success and happiness in the future.”
Mark Devenport joined the BBC in Northern Ireland as a trainee reporter in 1986 before going on to become the corporation’s Ireland correspondent covering the IRA ceasefire and the Good Friday Agreement. In 1999 he moved to New York to become the United Nations correspondent then returned to BBC Northern Ireland in 2001 as Political Editor, reporting on Stormont’s biggest political stories for nearly 20 years. Mark presented BBC Radio Ulster’s longest running political programme Inside Politics and has been a staple of many overnight election specials.
Mervyn Jess joined the BBC in 1988 and has worked in the newsroom for the past 32 years becoming one of BBC Newsline’s most regular reporters. His career in BBC Northern Ireland has seen him cover stories for BBC Newsline on the Drumcree dispute and other contentious parades. He has also reported from Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein and later was embedded with the Royal Irish Regiment and the Irish Guards on two separate tours in Afghanistan. He also reported on ex-pats in Hong Kong in the run up to the handover to China.
Maggie Taggart presented flagship programmes including Good Morning Ulster and Scene Around Six as well as heading up the Business Unit. She also worked for BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour. In 1995 Maggie became BBC News NI’s Arts And Education correspondent which she did for 20 years.
Kevin Magee joined the BBC in 1992, and spent 12 years as a reporter on the flagship current affairs programme Spotlight. He was appointed Investigations Correspondent for BBC News NI five years ago.
He has also contributed to BBC network programmes and made documentaries for BBC Gaeilge. Kevin is a multi-award winner having been recognised numerous times for documentary making and news reporting. During his time at the BBC, he won three coveted Royal Television Awards for television programmes and news reports, and was also recognised for his work on radio with IMRO and PPI awards. He is leaving the BBC to pursue a career as an independent film maker.
Mark said: “BBC Northern Ireland has been as much a second family to me as a workplace. I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to be an eyewitness to history, covering some tragic events but also meeting remarkable people and reporting on momentous and uplifting developments. I will miss my colleagues, who I regard as my friends, but I won’t miss all those alarm calls for early morning contributions to the BBC’s airwaves! I shall always be a journalist and someone interested in politics and society, so I intend to keep my brain ticking over in the future. For anyone who thinks they already read this story eighteen months ago, that was an April Fool, this is the real thing!”
Mervyn said: “It has been an honour and a privilege to report for the BBC for more than three decades, meeting such a diverse cross section of people. On occasions I had a front seat as little pieces of history unfolded in front of me. For that and for the generosity of spirit from those those I’ve worked alongside and the people I have interviewed, I shall always be grateful.”
Maggie said: “I’ve been privileged to have had a wonderful career at the BBC. The breadth of opportunity has meant there is always a new format, new programmes and new skills and challenges to keep journalists fresh and inquisitive. There were many exciting story highlights and many sad and tragic stories which needed covered. I turned my hand to them knowing I was delivering information and analysis on radio and television which was helpful to viewers and listeners. I am leaving BBC NI newsroom now but cannot imagine I will stop thinking up story and programme ideas for the future.”
Kevin Magee said: “I have had a great career at the BBC and I want to thank everyone who encouraged and supported me over the years both inside and outside the organisation. After working for 28 years in Broadcasting House, it is time to look for a new challenge. My first love has always been long-form journalism and I am looking forward to focusing on that full time.”
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