BBC Look North (North East/ Cumbria) had two pieces of news about South Cumbria over the last two days. Firstly, there is the concern over rising levels of Coronavirus in Barrow in Furness, and this has led to the borough being put under tighter restrictions (Level 2, of the new 3- Tier System of Coronavirus measures rolled out across England). Also, there was a piece on plans for the Lake District National Park to be expanded to cover parts of South Cumbria it does not currently include.
All well and good for viewers in the north of Cumbria who get BBC Look North: Unfortunately, for viewers in the South of Cumbria who get BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada, no coverage of Cumbria was forthcoming. ITV Granada has not covered Cumbria for weeks whilst BBC North West has not covered the county for some days (though they do cover one or two Cumbrian news-items on some days).
This is, a main theme which I come back to on this site, completely unacceptable that viewers in more northerly parts of North West England so often don’t get to see news that is local to them- when that “Northern North West” News is shown instead to an audience that is 90% in North East England or North Yorkshire- and likely 100 or more miles from where the news is happening. If there are rising Coronavirus cases in Barrow-in-Furness folk living in South Cumbria (or even North Lancashire) need to know about it much more than people living in Newcastle-upon-Tyne or Sunderland. The Lake District, especially the South Lakes, is visited by many more folk from North West England by reason of geographical proximity so a news- item about the South Lakes being extended to the coast will be relevant to South Cumbria and Lancashire, not so much Tyneside and Teesside.
Viewers of Regional television in North West England should get the North West England news- from across the Region that stretches right up to the Scottish Border. If BBC Look North (North East/ Cumbria) deem a news-item in South Cumbria to be sufficiently important -to air for the benefit of viewers in northern Cumbria then perhaps that South Cumbrian news-item is of sufficient significance for viewers of BBC North West Tonight -who actually live in South Cumbria- to see!
ITV Granada have (apparently) totally neglected their most northerly viewers of ITV Granada Reports, but BBC North West’s Tonight’s coverage of Cumbria is still well short of what is effective local coverage for their most northerly viewers. They both need to be informed of the need for more resources to be put into news- coverage for their respective northern hinterlands. Do e-mail them to let them know:
BBC North West Tonight: Email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
ITV Granada Reports: Email email@example.com
The more viewers write in and complain things are unacceptable, the more the North West’s Regional Television Broadcasters will be made aware things are unacceptable and that something needs to be done.
Published by northwestisnorthwest
My name is Ian Pennell and I am a freelance Book-keeper: I live near Alston, in the North Pennines in north-east Cumbria. I have friends who live in northern North West England - near Lancaster (which is where I went to University and used to live until 17 years ago) and in other parts of Cumbria. I have two Website Campaigns that seek to promote more localised Regional TV coverage for large rural areas across the North of North West England and North East England. .
A big problem is that the Regional Television Bulletins for the North West covers the southern third of the Region about 90% (plus a part of Derbyshire which is NOT the North West of England), covers the middle third of North West England poorly and covers the northern third of North West England not at all! When I was studying at Lancaster University, I used to watch BBC1 North West Tonight because it covered areas up around where I was brought up- in northern Cumbria as well as more immediately locally around Lancaster. Then I came home one day, turned on BBC1 North West Tonight wondering why they were silent on Cumbria and discovered why: Most of Cumbria had been chopped off the weather-map! .
People living in the westernmost part of North West England (around St. Bees Head) have local BBC news on their televisions which is 90% about North East England!
In rural and northern Northumberland too, Regional TV, as is received by viewers, tends too often to be Tyneside/ Wearside/ Teesside- focussed with little news locally. Communities in North Northumberland have strong links across the Border into south-east Scotland and towards Edinburgh but none of the Regional TV News- services serving Northumberland today ever goes across the Scottish Border for significant happenings of interest to North Northumbrians. I have also done walking in the area, including around the Cheviots in the past- and the Northumberland/ Scottish Borders/ East and Mid Lothian area is vast- but it is largely overlooked by mainstream Regional TV! .
North Yorkshire, the largest county in England also falls in the gaps between coverage from BBC Look North (NE/ Cumbria) or ITV1 News Tyne Tees in the north of the county, and the Leeds-based BBC1 and ITV1 Regional TV- services in the south of the county: North Yorkshire is a huge, yet beautiful county, which I have visited and explored in the past, yet is poorly covered in Regional TV. .
Based near Alston, near the Cumbria/ Northumberland boundary I am well-placed to discuss Regional TV in all these large rural areas, in which collectively some two million folk live, yet they are poorly covered by the Regional TV News- services set up to serve them. These huge areas are an hour to two hours' drive from where I live: North Lancashire and South/ West Cumbria are to the south-west, Northumberland and the Scottish Borders and Lothian are to the north and north-east, and North Yorkshire is to the south-east of my home near Alston. I am well-placed to draw attention to deficiencies in Regional TV coverage for folk in all these areas. The North Pennines, where I live, is arguably another large area that touches on the other three where Regional TV coverage falls through the gaps completely (and that is despite the North Pennines running north to south down the middle of the BBC1 NE/ Cumbria Region). .
In two websites, one for northern North West England and the Isle of Man (a country in it's own right that does not have it's own TV service!), and another Website focussing on Northumberland, North Yorkshire and the North Pennines I make the point that Regional TV that informs viewers of important things in their local area is a Public Service, funding for which should be given a higher priority (and if necessary via statute through the BBC's Charter), than funding for Soaps, Films or Sport- which are for leisure. I also give viewers the tools to fight effectively for better- and more geographic-appropriate Regional TV where they live- and to seek it through alternative (often little-known) local TV services, some of which may only be available on the Internet.
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