ITV Border Lookaround has SIX News Items about Cumbria plus Burton-in-Lonsdale report.

22nd June 2022

Dear Readers

If viewers in northern North West England, particularly those who live in the extreme North of Lancashire and in South Cumbria have any doubts about the geographical- appropriateness (or otherwise) of the flagship Regional News programme from ITV Border, namely Lookaround, then tonight ought to dispel such concerns! Not only did the news-programme feature six news-reports about Cumbria, including one which mentioned Cumbria in the context of folk having access/ ability to use computers and go onto the Internet across rural parts of North West England. Moreover, the study into what is called “Digital Poverty” was commissioned by Lancaster University, which the news-reporters on ITV Border Lookaround were keen to point out! So the profile of Lancaster University was raised by ITV Border Lookaround.

THE VILLAGE OF BROOKHOUSE IN THE LUNE VALLEY OF NORTH LANCASHIRE, PICTURE TAKEN IN MARCH 2003. EVEN INTO LANCASHIRE, THE BEST REGIONAL NEWS-PROGRAMME FOR LOCAL NEWS AND FOR THE MOST TOPICALLY-RELEVANT NEWS IS LIKELY TO BE ITV BORDER LOOKAROUND, NOT ITV GRANADA REPORTS OR EVEN BBC1 NORTH WEST TONIGHT.

In addition to the news-reports about Cumbria, ITV Border Lookaround returned to Burton in Lonsdale, only just on the North Yorkshire side of the Lancashire- North Yorkshire border, and about five miles from the Cumbrian border. ITV Border Lookaround pointed out the identities of the two people killed in the helecopter crash on the outskirts of that village.

Of course, ITV Border Lookaround had four further news-reports covering southern Scotland, three of these concerned the Dumfries area: Dumfries is, as one may point out, 95 miles north of Carnforth by car, whilst Carnforth to Malpas- in the very south of Cheshire (ITV GranadaReports-land) is 97 miles and considerably slower to get to. But most of the coverage from ITV Border Lookaround concerned Cumbria (i.e., on Carnforth’s doorstep)- as is the case on most nights. And Burton-in-Lonsdale, which featured in ITV Border Lookaround tonight (22nd June 2022) is only twelve miles to the east of Carnforth.

By way of contrast, BBC1 North West Tonight had no news-reports about Cumbria at all this evening, although there were three news-features about north-west Lancashire: Blackpool featured twice in the news-programme and Rossall Point, on the Coast near Fleetwood featured too. Yet the Lancaster University study of “Digital Poverty” in rural North West England was not mentioned, neither was the situation near Burton-in-Lonsdale covered (although, to be fair, this was covered on BBC1 North West Tonight last night). However, ITV Border Lookaround also covered the Burton-in-Lonsdale situation last night plus another six news-features about Cumbria (one of which was an extensive piece about the premises of a charity helping the disabled being vandalised in both Kendal and Barrow-in-Furness).

ITV Border Lookaround has also mentioned significant developments in Lancashire as/ when programmers have felt these have a bearing on their viewers in Cumbria. Just the other day it ran coverage of the M6 northbound being shut between Preston and Lancaster, because programmers felt this could affect the travel plans of viewers in Cumbria who normally watch ITV Border’s bulletins.

Viewers who live in North Lancashire or the parts of South Cumbria that receive both BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV Granada Reports by default have for years been persuaded that these programmes are the most appropriate for their local communities, that because they live in North West England an hour’s drive or a bit more south of the Scottish Border that they should watch BBC1 North West Tonight and ITV Granada Reports to get the best local news-coverage.

However, it is clear to anyone who watches ITV Granada Reports how Greater-Manchester- Liverpool centric that Regional News programme is: Tonight, seven news-items concerned Merseyside or Cheshire- central South Lancashire was covered twice and no coverage got north of Preston! Often, Lancashire is scarecely mentioned at all. Even BBC1 North West Tonight struggles to get North of Preston at times, even though it covers Lancashire rather better than ITV Granada Reports.

It should, therefore, be clear from viewing the Regional News- programmes that serve all different parts of North West England this week (commencing 20th June 2022) which are the best Regional TV News- services are for different areas: It is very clear that even though only the central and northern parts of Cumbria- including almost all the Lake District National Park area- get ITV1 Border Lookaround by default that the areas more geographically and topically suited to ITV Border Lookaround extend a bit further south than ITV.Plc would be happy to admit! If you live in Carnforth, or in Hornby in the Lune Valley of North Lancashire, it is very clear that over 80% of what is on ITV1 Granada Reports is over an hour’s drive away. However ITV Border Lookaround had a news-report about a place roughly ten miles away (eastwards) from rural North Lancashire, often covers the Kendal area extensively and, just this evening, featured a study made at Lancaster University.

Certainly, it is very clear that for almost one million folk who live north of Preston and in South Cumbria, that the best combination of Regional News-services to get maximum all-round local coverage of places within an hour’s travel time will not be ITV Granada Reports folowed by BBC1 North West Tonight, since both Regional News-programmes often duplicate news-coverage, and both will often have a moratorium on news-coverage north of Preston! The better combination would be ITV Border Lookaround followed by BBC1 North West Tonight, because in the first you get local coverage (sometimes remarkably local) to the north of where you live then two or three news-items about Lancashire in the latter, most of which will be locally south of where you live. You will also get coverage of major happenings in Greater Manchester and Merseyside from BBC1 North West Tonight, but you really don’t want to hear about them twice!

Sure, if you live in Garstang or Fleetwood, news about Stranraer or Galashiels on ITV Border Lookaround will not be local, (though the news may still be topically local as Stranraer is a sea-side town bordering the Irish Sea like Fleetwood); however neither is Port Sunlight on The Wirral local to Fleetwood (and Port Sunlight featured so much in ITV Granada Reports this evening). What surely matters is getting topically-relevant news and a higher proportion of news being about happenings within an hour’s travel time of where you live (beyond which travel times, news is not local by any definition)! If you live in Garstang, Carnforth, or Hornby in the Lune Valley, a good local and Regional News-service will be one that covers happenings to the north of where you live as well as to the south.

Unfortunately, a good local and Regional North West Regional News-service tailored to viewers in places like Carnforth, Garstang, Hornby, Barrow-in-Furness, Millom or Fleetwood does not really exist. This is the reason why this Website came to be, to campaign for a more tailored geographic-appropriate Regional News-service for viewers in northern North West England! However, part of what will put pressure on Regional TV News- providers to provide such a Regional News-service will be significant numbers of viewers shopping around and swivelling their aerials northwards to find more geographic-appropriate news: To that end, if enough viewers of Regional Television in places like Carnforth, Garstang, Morecambe or Barrow-in-Furness started watching ITV1 Border Lookaround it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that programmers at ITV Granada Reports and also BBC1 North West Tonight would notice- and take steps to adjust their output to retain those viewers.

For viewers to make the switch, viewers will need to become aware of the facts, of which Regional TV News- services cover the local area and which cover places nearby or a bit further afield that folk like to frequent. Furthermore, communities in North Lancashire have a stronger affinity with Cumbria and the western Yorkshire Dales (ITV Border Lookaround have covered both this week), than the North Lancashire communities have affinity with Greater Manchester or Merseyside (areas that are 80% or more covered in ITV Granada Reports). If folk get their Lancashire news from BBC1 North West Tonight, or even just from BBC Radio Lancashire which then is appropriate for a wider-but-still-local perspective for folk living in the Lune Valley or the Wyre, both predominantly rural areas? Is it going to be ITV Border Lookaround with extensive coverage of Cumbria, and with almost all coverage concerning rural areas or the urban/ metropolitan news-based ITV Granada Reports with 80% coverage over an hour’s travel time to the south?

In the meantime, this Website will continue illustrating the facts, showing the geographical areas covered by ITV1 Border Lookaround and comparing it with the geographical coverage of ITV1 Granada Reports and BBC1 North West Tonight, as I have done this week. When this gets enough exposure and folk living in the affected communities sandwiched in between Kendal and Preston and north along the South Cumbrian coast as far as Millom- investigate for themselves, they will find out which Regional TV News-services fulfil their needs best and start watching them!

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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