Both BBC North West Tonight and ITV Granada Reports are Metropolitan- flavoured in their outlook

14th March 2022

Dear Readers

This evening, I wish to touch on something that many viewers of Regional Television who live in North West England , particularly those who live in rural Lancashire or South Cumbria, must observe. It is fairly clear from watching BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV1 Granada Reports that the programing and content of the coverage is not just heavily concentrated well south of Preston, but the coverage is Metropolitan in outlook, i.e., geared towards urban Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region. This is another reason why the mainstream North West Regional TV News services come across somewhat out- of-touch with more rural parts of North West England, particularly those areas that are North of Preston.

A look at the ITV1 Granada Reports website illustrates this point (website here: https://www.itv.com/news/granada): Look at the sub-headings next to “Granada” on the light grey background and you will see sub-sections related to “Manchester Arena Attack”, “Hillsborough”, “Clean Air Zone”, “Sport” and “Entertainment”. The “Clean Air Zone” section clearly refers to Greater Manchester, as the Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, has been instrumental in getting one set up. The news- coverage (and the matters covered) speaks well to a school teacher in Manchester or an imam in Hyde; but neither the geographical coverage or the topical content is relvant to a bed-and-breakfast owner in Ambleside, a cattle-mart owner in Lancaster or a farmer on the Lakeland fells!

It means that for the largely-rural locations roughly equi-distant between the mean location of the ITV1 Granada Reports/ BBC1 North West Tonight coverage to the south and the mean location of the ITV1 News Border Lookaround news-coverage- i.e., Lancaster, Garstang, Fleetwood, Clitheroe and the upper Ribble Valley, ITV1 News Border’s Lookaround should be a no- brainer: It covers rural issues like farming and tourism in addition to covering areas that are geographically local to northern Lancashire.

It stands to reason that a hill-farmer in the Bowland Fells would likely find coverage of cold wet spring weather affecting lambs in Cumbria, or higher cattle-sale prices at Carlisle’s Borderway Mart will be of more interest to that farmer and his/ her family than Black Lives Matter marches in Manchester or problems facing Muslim communities in Stockport. Only it’s not just farmers in Cumbria and northern Lancashire, but hotel owners, agricultural suppliers, rural community shops, rural community groups, fishing communities further up the North West coast who are not represented at all well by mainstream Regional Television as it is in North West England.

Rural communities of northern North West England, you have been largely ignored, little covered with your concerns and worries not represented in Regional news bulletins for far too long: Rise up and make yourselves and your communities be heard, and make sure your concerns and issues have representation in the Regional news. And if an adjacent Regional news service would do a better job ask for your area to be able to receive that Regional news-service!

Published by northwestisnorthwest

I live near Alston in north -east Cumbria (and yes, it is in North West England). I have friends who live in the middle part of North West England - near Lancaster (which is where I went to University and used to live until 14 years ago). 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! 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!!

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