The BBC can improve its journalism in a number of areas, Director General Mark Thompson said at the second Bob Friend Memorial Lecture last night.

"There are plenty of areas where we know we can do better: Science, the environment, public services, the arts and religion,” he said.

Thompson cited Robert Peston’s coverage of the world of business as an example of the quality specialist reporting the corporation can achieve.

He also reaffirmed the BBC’s commitment to funding current affairs and investigative journalism.

He said: “We want to go on putting money into serious current affairs and moments of debate on television and radio

"Above all, at a time when many other journalistic organisations are finding it very difficult to fund investigative journalism...we’re still regularly out there trying to find entirely new stories and back them up."

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We can improve our specialist coverage - BBC Director General Mark Thompson