Watching ITV1 Granada Reports this evening was an eye- opener. Most of the “News” coverage was dedicated to Manchester City’s up-coming Champions League match in Porto, Portugal: ITV1 Granada even went out of the way to send a reporter there! Amongst the other coverage was the footballer Marcus Rashford chatting to former US President Barack Obama, a road- smash in Stockport and, of course, the increased incidence of Indian variant of Covid 19 found in various towns in east Lancashire and northern Greater Manchester.
By way of contrast ITV Border’s Lookaround programme had two news-features about Carlisle, including the headline news-feature about a woman who died after falling then being dropped whilst in hospital, Kirkoswald and Penrith featured, Keswick featured in the second (extensive) report on Tourism and Silloth, on the North Cumbrian coast featured too. There was also a brief clip at the end of Lookaround about a mini-tornado being spotted in the Eden Valley. Two other news-items featured Dumfries in south-west Scotland, Melrose in the Scottish borders and the other news-item was about soldiers suffering post traumatic stress disorder walking the Pennine Way which the news- presenter mentioned travelled through Cumbria and ended in the Scottish Borders.
Viewers in northern Lancashire and a large coastal crescent of South Cumbria stretching from Kirkby Lonsdale in the east to Ulverston, then up as far as Millom in the north- west receive ITV1 Granada Reports as their default ITV Regional News programme, they cannot get ITV1 Border’s Lookaround programme of which news about Cumbria accounted for some two thirds of all coverage this evening. In fact, ITV1 Border’s Lookaround usually has over 50% of news-coverage being about Cumbria.
From this comparison of two ITV Regions, each serving different parts of North West England although ITV1 Granada is the only one available across extensive parts of northern North West England, this raises a serious point: Are northern Lancashire and those parts of Cumbria receiving ITV1 Granada output in the right ITV1 Region? Looking at the showing that there was this evening from ITV1 Granada and ITV1 Border which would be more geographically- appropriate to viewers in Kirkby Lonsdale, Millom (both in Cumbria) or in Morecambe? Bearing in mind that extensive coverage of Sports puts a lot of viewers off, Marcus Rashford meeting Barack Obama is hardly “Local News” and Stockport is even less local than Carlisle. The most northerly news-items featured parts of east Lancashire with the drip-drip rise in cases of Covid-19- which is further from Lancaster in terms of travel time than is Penrith that featured in ITV1 Border’s Lookaround programme.
For the South Cumbrian viewers, it is patently obvious that they would want the Regional News- service that has often got two-thirds of total coverage being about their own county of Cumbria, with at least 50% at other times. News about the Lakes, about tourism, which is directly relevant to folk living in South Cumbria is relevant to their concerns and issues: “News” (if you can call it that) which is about Marcus Rashford meeting Barack Obama or Manchester City in Portugal- both of which do not even happen in the UK, let alone locally is not locally-relevant and neither is it something affecting most folk’s lives in South Cumbria and northern Lancashire.
There are even questions about how much ITV1 Granada Reports decidedly metropolitan (and decidedly woke) offerings are relevant to anyone living north of the M62 Corridor: Sound advice for anyone living in those areas would be to watch BBC1 North West Tonight which does cover more of Lancashire and will mention Cumbria at times. Just today, BBC North West Tonight featured a diver finding an engagement ring at the bottom of Lake Windermere- with the lady who lost it originally being very happy at the news. ITV1 Granada Reports almost never covers Cumbria!
A major public- awareness exercise is required for communities across South Cumbria and northern Lancashire- which is that even though ITV1 Border do not cover northern Lancashire in their output it has far more news about the issues that actually have salience with local viewers and it covers Cumbria extremely, extremely well: North Lancastrians, with strong connections to Cumbria, would do extremely well to try and tune in to ITV1 Border to find out what is happening just to the north of them then, at 6.30 pm switching over to BBC1 North West Tonight to get the news just to the south of them. That’s the combination of Regional News- coverage that viewers who live in and just north of Kendal have and, without ITV1 Border, viewers there would suffer the same appalling Hobson’s Choices that viewers in places like Ulverston, Carnforth and Morecambe suffer (even BBC North West fails to get north of Preston- and becomes Manchester/ Liverpool- centric- at times). This Website will, of course, continue to highlight the geographical- inappropriateness of news-coverage as is watched across an extensive area of northern North West England.
The Isle of Man is also a sizeable island with a population of 85,000 (and a small country in its own right, with its own Parliament) where Manx viewers must be baffled by the fact that they have (effectively) no choice, but Greater Manchester/ Merseyside dominated coverage: This is certainly not local to the Crown Dependency, and it truly is a wonder if viewers are not complaining in their thousands to the Manx government about this! The Channel Islands, another UK Crown Dependency with just double the population of the Isle of Man has its own ITV1 Region and a news opt-out from BBC South West- imagine the reaction if the BBC1 Channel Islands’ opt-out and ITV1 Channel were axed and folk living in Guernsey and Jersey had to put up with “local” news about Bristol and Somerset (involving a ferry journey of several hours plus a long drive to get to)- there would be total uproar! Manx viewers of ITV1 Granada Reports and BBC1 North West Tonight should realise how much they are being cheated- and write to their government about it.