Monday, 3 December 2012

The BBC 6 O'Clock News Regional Bias report: Month 3

My ongoing and slightly masochistic project to determine the level of London-centric bias in the BBC News. The first month is here and the second here. The weekly variation remains high with natural disasters and grisly murders being the principle factors behind where the camera goes. I have a horrible feeling that six months may not be enough but we shall see.


Total Minutes September  October  November    Total
North West        42.66        18.76        15.70        77.12
Wales        14.55        24.46        26.59        65.60
London        18.31        18.99        28.22        65.52
Yorkshire +        19.76        11.08        23.41        54.25
South-West          5.60        22.88        16.19        44.67
South-East        24.07          9.91          7.85        41.83
Scotland        13.59        21.35          6.08        41.02
West Midlands          0.92        10.57        13.48        24.97
East          3.43        13.81          6.30        23.54
Northern Ireland          7.37          2.88          6.32        16.57
East Midlands          1.97          1.72          6.36        10.05
North East          6.55              -            1.13          7.68

The raw figures show the North West still dominates with London, Wales and Yorkshire fighting it out for the next two places. However if we adjust for population and go to the minutes coverage per million population...


Mins/Mpop September  October  November   Total
Wales          4.75          7.98          8.68        21.41
North West          6.05          2.66          2.23        10.94
Yorkshire +          3.74          2.10          4.43        10.27
Northern Ireland          4.07          1.59          3.49          9.15
South-West          1.06          4.33          3.06          8.45
London          2.24          2.32          3.45          8.02
Scotland          2.59          4.06          1.16          7.81
South-East          2.79          1.15          0.91          4.84
West Midlands          0.16          1.89          2.41          4.46
East          0.59          2.36          1.08          4.03
North East          2.52              -            0.44          2.96
East Midlands          0.43          0.38          1.40          2.22

If we look at the adjusted rankings month to month....



September October November
Wales 2 1 1
North West 1 4 7
Yorkshire + 4 7 2
Northern Ireland 3 9 3
South-West 9 2 5
London 8 6 4
Scotland 6 3 9
South-East 5 10 11
West Midlands 12 8 6
East 10 5 10
North East 7 12 12
East Midlands 11 11 8

It becomes obvious that the initial thesis, that a London centric media gives undue bias to London stories look a bit suspect. The counter-moan, that now that BBC News has moved to Salford they've become Manchester-centric, is far from proven given the apparent dominance of Wales.

It is clear what part of the country is ignored and that is the Midlands, the East and the North East. In fact it would be fairer to say that the media has a western bias than a southern one.

ADDED 14:00 03/12/2012
I received a tweet this morning complaining that the inclusion of Bristol distorted the figures for the South-West region and that Devon and Cornwall were unfairly excluded from news coverage. Fortunately my notes were detailed enough to seperate Devon and Cornwall and quote seperate figures.

Devon and Cornwall have a population of 1,671,000 - about 3% of the UK's population and received 16.63 minutes of coverage or roughly 4% of total. Their minutes/million population rate was 9.95 putting them 4th in the league table - two places above the South-West Region.




Pop Mins Min/Pop
Wales 3.064        65.60        21.41
North West 7.052        77.12        10.94
Yorkshire + 5.284        54.25        10.27
DEVON & CORNWALL 1.671        16.63          9.95
Northern Ireland 1.811        16.57          9.15
South-West 5.289        44.67          8.45
London 8.174        65.52          8.02
Scotland 5.254        41.02          7.81
South-East 8.635        41.83          4.84
West Midlands 5.602        24.97          4.46
East 5.847        23.54          4.03
North East 2.597          7.68          2.96
East Midlands 4.533        10.05          2.22



3 comments:

Leslie said...

Could you maybe post a link to a map that shows the boundaries of the areas you reference? For us non UKsians?

Also, does the UK have anything like we do here in the US, where every half-way largish city has its own TV station? Most of these stations are affiliated with one network or another, but some are independent. All of them generally pride themselves on their hard-hitting Eyewitness News Teams, which cover local-area news.
If the UK only has the BBC for news coverage, then it makes a lot more sense for it to be (seen to be) fair and balanced, to coin a phrase.

Leslie said...

PS -- re all the white people on Arrow having their own personal black sidekick -- hey, not true, his sister doesn't have one! Yet!

Still miles above Smallville, which had a black sidekick for like 2 minutes, then ditched him. Or Vampire Diaries, which currently only has one main-character black sidekick.

For funsies, try analyzing shows to see if they pass the Bechdel Test. To wit: (1) it has to have at least two women in it, who (2) who talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man. http://bechdeltest.com/

jefflowrey said...

So is it possible that it is not actually bias, but merely a failure on the part of the mentioned parts of the country to be interesting in any manner?