Saturday, December 8, 2018

Virginia Henry

I'm very sad to report that Virginia/Gina Henry, a close colleague in arms and mischief from my Newsbeat days, has died after complications from an operation to excise lung cancer.

She came as producer, after starting at Radio 4 as a researcher on posh, serious programmes presented by Desmond Wilcox and the like, and then producing The Colour Supplement, a Sunday magazine show with Sarah Kennedy.

She was in her element at Newsbeat, cocking a quizzical eye and a trademark raised eyebrow at stories, looking for new treatments for old chestnuts (and often, rightly, leaving them by the wayside), and permanently at hand, it seemed, to help reporters and other producers battling the shortest of turn-rounds. In an office of occasional tensions, Gina knew when to apply sympathy, and when to point out daftness. She edited two Newsbeat reviews of the year, in 1986 with Frank Partridge, and in 1988 with Ian Parkinson. Perhaps more importantly, she fixed team outings - to Boulogne, Calais and Clacton.

Then she got more serious back at Radio 4, producing science and medical programmes. I enjoyed teasing her about 'Leviathan', an-only-at-Radio 4-title for a programme looking at topical themes against an historical background. Apparently it was 'acclaimed' and appeared for a short run on BBC2 in 1997.

Gina then moved on to training in radio, but never lost sight of the fast-moving technology changes around her. As a world only half comfortable with 'internet' struggled with the word 'intranet', Gina got into knowledge management. One rather unlikely, but successful client was De Beers, who knew everything about diamonds, but shared little of that information within the company.

In 2009, she was a driving force behind the start of the London Information and Knowledge Exchange - still going. It's a regular get-together for knowledge-management professionals, mixing, as ever, the serious with the sociable.

She wrote a regular blog "Making Knowledge Work", and it's worth just presenting her 'About Me' page - typical Gina, straightforward, generous and fun.

"As a researcher, then producer and programme editor for the BBC, I would have achieved little without actively collaborating and sharing knowledge with my colleagues and interviewees.  Later,  working in training and course development, I learned far more from course members and fellow tutors than I ever imparted to them.  Moving into websites and intranets opened up a world of fresh opportunities to learn and share. And now, helping organisations to implement and sustain knowledge-working  in their businesses gives me the chance to put all that learning into action – and continue to build on it.

So this blog site is, in some ways, a tribute to all the knowledgeable and patient individuals I’ve encountered, and all the shoulders I’ve left footprints on !"

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