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BBC director-general Mark Thompson speaks at University of Kent

Mark Thompson speaking at the University of Kent in Chatham. Picture: Peter StillIn a week of controversy surrounding the BBC, its director-general took time out to speak to students in Medway.

Just hours after meeting union reps about the proposed cutbacks at the corporation, Mark Thompson was at the University of Kent in Chatham to deliver the annual Bob Friend memorial lecture to journalism undergraduates.

Mr Thompson spoke about the strategy for the BBC and how this will shape its news services around the world.

On the subject of regional news, the director-general reiterated the BBC's plans to go no more local than the county and city-wide services it already provides.

He said: "In the case of local journalism, we feel it is for others to take the lead. We think there are potentially some really exciting developments in local media."

Mr Thompson said cuts in some of the BBC's overheads would mean more investment in television and radio programmes.

Speaking after the event, he added: "What I hope people will see in the existing heartland services is even more quality. We'll have more big projects like the Five Days drama, more really big exciting projects like that."

He revealed the BBC will be investing an extra £10million in children's programmes.

He said: "We want to invest more in quality content for children. We know because parents tell us they rely on our commitment to children’s television programmes without advertising."

Mr Thompson described the decision to close 6 Music as "painful" but said he hoped to bring some of the talent from the station to Radio 1 and Radio 2.

Mr Thompson also presented student Daniel May with the Bob Friend Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to a first-year student from the Centre for Journalism at the university in memory of the BBC and Sky News journalist.

Daniel, 19, from Essex, is the second winner of the scholarship.

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