15th February 2018,
A trawl back through the Twitter Feed of BBC North West Tonight shows how much the Regional television news broadcast to the North West of England covers the more northerly parts of the Region.
A look back at the last 100 news tweets regarding what is happening around the area highlights the disparity of coverage of different parts of the North West: Here is the breakdown of counties in terms of the number of tweets for the last 100 news-tweets:
Greater Manchester: 45 tweets.
Merseyside: 18 tweets.
Lancashire: 20 tweets.
Cheshire: 9 tweets.
Isle of Man: 4 tweets.
Cumbria: 2 tweets.
Amazingly, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire got one news-tweet each, despite these counties not being part of the English North West!
As can be seen, Great Manchester does very well as it gets almost half the news coverage. Merseyside is less well-covered and Lancashire picks up 20 news items (however northern Lancashire only has six items- all concerning Blackpool and five were about an old footballer who had died).
Cheshire is covered rather less well with just nine out of the 100 tweets covering news in the county. For the viewers of regional television in the Isle of Man and in South Cumbria this analysis makes depressing reading since the Isle of Man was only covered four times and (shockingly) Cumbria was covered twice. What must be even more appalling for neglected viewers in the northern parts of the North West is that two news-tweets covered areas that are not, by any definition, in the North West- South Yorkshire and Derbyshire.
The allocation of resources across the North West of England in terms of news provision is uneven. Greater Manchester gets by far the lion’s share of coverage and Merseyside usually does relatively well along with the southern half of Lancashire. Cheshire is relatively neglected despite having a population of around one million people but Cumbria and northern Lancashire are, if this sample is representative, really poorly covered despite being home to almost a million people.
Viewers in the north of Cumbria are much better catered for by BBC North East and Cumbria in Look North, even though 90% of coverage, being about the North East of England will be irrelevant to folk living in Workington, Whitehaven and Egremont. However around 15 tweets in 100 on the BBC North East / Cumbria Twitter feed will be about Cumbria and (moreover) a proportion of these will concern South Cumbria, so that North Cumbrian viewers know what is going on in the south of their own county.
Isn’t it time BBC North West did the same? After all, northern Cumbria is still part of North West England, even if the viewers there watch a different regional programme. This would make BBC North West Tonight look like it was a proper North West Regional Programme covering the entire Region properly.
And with Cumbria and Lancashire getting just 22 news items out of 100 in the above review of their Twitter Feed it is far from a fully North West Regional Programme at present! It can’t be if 75% of the geographical English North West only gets 22% coverage.
@BBCNWT @BBCLN(NE&C) #cumbria #lancashire @GranadaTV #Workington #Whitehaven #Egremont #northlancs