12th February 2018
A quick look at search terms will show how much regional television in North West England neglects the northern two-thirds of the English North West.
On ITV Granada’s news-feed there is the option to search for news items containing specific words and names (of people or places). I have clicked today on “Search” and entered the names of various counties and places in the English North West, and I discover how many news items to date mention the specified counties, towns and cities:
Putting “Manchester” in “Search” shows that there are 21,738 news reports that specifically mention Manchester. Doing the same for “Greater Manchester” shows that 11,855 news items mention Greater Manchester.
These are the results for numbers of news items that mention the following areas and places specified in “Search ” on ITV’s Granada news-feed:
Liverpool: 11,789 mentions
Cheshire: 6,737 mentions ( about 4,000 of these are only because “Cheshire” is tagged on weather forecasts!
Lancashire: 2,974 mentions
Preston: 1,875 mentions
Morecambe: just 448 mentions
Barrow-in-Furness: 234 mentions
Kendal: 151 mentions
Ambleside: 21 mentions
Penrith: 26 mentions
Keswick: 27 mentions.
Given that the search terms covering news going back to 2011, it shows that significant locations in South Cumbria, still in the ITV Granada area are getting seriously short-changed. Barrow in Furness, a town with over 50,000 inhabitants gets mentioned 234 times over several years- that is about 35 times a year (or once in over ten days). Manchester, despite its population being just ten times that of Barrow-in-Furness (or twenty times if you include the surrounding suburbs like Urmston, Cheadle and Ashton-under-Lyne). Yet the city gets almost 50 or 100 times the coverage on the basis of search terms alone.
Kendal, on the northern border of the ITV Granada area fared even worse, with just 151 mentions, despite it being a sizeable town. That is about once every two and a half weeks!
And to illustrate just how much Granada Reports dislike going beyond the transmission area, even for the benefit of their 100,000 Cumbrian viewers the town of Ambleside has had a mention just 21 times in seven years – i.e. once every four months. Penrith has been mentioned 26 times and Keswick 27 times. This is despite the importance of the English Lake District as a destination for day-trippers from the North West and despite the fact that people in South Cumbria and northern Lancashire regularly travel to these destinations in their jobs or to visit friends – or just for a trip out.
Unfortunately, BBC North West Tonight do not have a news search feature, but having watched the programme and followed it’s news-feed via Twitter and Facebook it is very likely the numbers will stack up similarly. People living in more northerly parts of North West England are getting short-changed.