24th August 2021
It’s good to see after all this time, but after seeming to totally ignore the half of North West England that is north of Lancaster for so long ITV1 Granada Reports have started to cover Cumbria. It is a joy to see but two significant pieces on Cumbrian affairs: The first is the news about the voluntary organisation called Fix The Fells repairing footpaths on the fells in the Lake District and helping to prevent erosion in the process (the link to that news- feature is here: https://www.itv.com/news/granada/2021-08-22/pandemic-boosts-lake-district-and-wears-it-away-at-the-same-time). That was the other day and today there was a news- feature in which the main ITV1 Granada Reports’ presenters, Lucy Meacock and Gamal Fahnbulleh interviewed Cumbria’s Director of Public Health, Colin Cox about would-be tourists getting Covid-19 tests before travelling to Cumbria (link to this news- feature here: https://www.itv.com/news/granada/2021-08-24/visitors-to-lake-district-should-get-covid-test-before-they-travel). There have been other news- items about Cumbria on ITV1 Granada Reports (albeit just South Cumbria) in recent days, such as the diver who rescued a woman’s prosthetic leg from Lake Windermere and that of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust- which covers South Cumbria- being returned to special measures.
This development is a pleasant surprise for viewers of ITV Granada Reports who live north of Preston, who have become used to their community and those just to the north of them not being covered in news-coverage. As to the reasons for this sudden development, could it be that someone who works for ITV Granada Reports, or even one of the news- presenters or programmers has stumbled across this Website? Could it be that they or some of their colleagues became alarmed that there are people who live in Cumbria or northern Lancashire willing to call- out the fact that viewers in the North of the ITV Granada transmission area have effectively been ignored whilst their loyalty has been taken for granted. Might this have resulted in a decision amongst programmers to really start covering Cumbria in news- output for fear of a loss of viewers to a more northerly ITV Region that covers Cumbria much better (namely ITV News Border with their flagship news- programme Lookaround)?
If that is what has happened, then I would consider that a result. However, there has to be a consistent long- term change with ITV1 Granada Reports covering something from Cumbria (including northern Cumbria) every night- or at least most nights going forwards. This Website campaigns for more geographic- appropriate news- coverage for viewers who live in places like Ulverston, Kirkby Lonsdale, Millom and Carnforth- and for ITV1 Granada Reports to produce coverage that is consistently relevant to such places. This means that there has to be a sweep of coverage from Cheshire right up to the Scottish Border- along with more coverage of northern Lancashire and South Cumbria. That requires a commitment to a minimum of three news- items from northwards of Preston, which could still be done without diluting coverage of Manchester and Liverpool (by trimming just a minute off the Sports to make room for an additional news-item).
It remains the case that BBC1 North West Tonight covers Lancashire better than ITV1 Granada Reports and (usually) there will be something about Cumbria on the programme on most nights. Perhaps programmers at ITV Granada are aware of this- and in an attempt to retain their more northerly viewers- are now making more of an effort to cover Cumbria. ITV.Plc gets its money from advertising revenue and from ITV Hub subscriptions, so aware that a loss of viewers means fewer viewing figures for potential advertisers (who are not then as willing to pay as high a premium) they are responding to North Lancastrian and South Cumbrian viewer preferences and market- pressure. If this is what is making ITV Granada’s programmers cover the northern North West of England- as well as Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region- that is a very good thing as far as this Website Campaign is concerned.
How about ITV Granada go one better and provide an opt-out for more localised news-coverage for South Cumbria, northern Lancashire – and indeed the Isle of Man? That would be even better.