The Times profiles Will Gompertz, the Tate flack turned BBC Arts Editor, in the run-up to his debut in the new job:
Gompertz, 44, a former holiday camp redcoat who is also editor-in-chief of the website culturecritic.co.uk, which aggregates critics’ reviews, knows he has a fair wind behind him at the BBC. The corporation this year announced that it intended to deepen its commitment to the arts and the new post was created by the Director General, Mark Thompson, who Gompertz personally knows “through Oxford”, where they both live. But the appointment is controversial even within the BBC newsroom, where his lack of reporting experience has been noted.
The arts correspondent Razia Iqbal was said to be deeply disappointed at not getting the job, advertised at a salary of about £150,000. A letter in a recent issue of the BBC’s internal newspaper Ariel expressed astonishment at Gompertz’s appointment when the post of crime correspondent has been axed altogether, implying that priorities had been skewed. The Daily Mail has been on his case, reporting the unease with the headline: “He’s never reported or presented TV and he needs three months’ training.” The Liberal Democrat arts spokesman Don Foster said: “It would be reasonable to expect somebody in a senior position to have experience of television presentation. Appointing somebody with a very limited track record of television journalism should cause concern.”
Will Gompertz on His Plans for BBC Arts Coverage (Times of London)