Do you feel the BBC in London have forgotten all about Northern Ireland now that the Troubles are over? That an “ordinary” murder in NI doesn’t get the same coverage as a stabbing in England? Well, the BBC Trust, the corporation’s regulator, may well agree with you. In a recent review of UK-wide coverage, the Trust has made a “must do better” order to London newsdesks to improve reporting from the other Nations in particular. http://http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/research/impartiality/nations.html
The review applies to Scotland and Wales too of course, which never had our baleful attractions for the networks. You may have wondered why in the past few days BBC network News has covered stories like £150 for Dundonians to give up the cigs http://http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/tayside_and_central/7465908.stm or a spanking new “cheeky” children’s channel for Welsh speakers (don’t tell Gregory Campbell) ( view the website) http://http://plant.s4c.co.uk/cyw/en_index.html.
As a former BBC editor I have a lot of sympathy with the newsdesks. Official information on a UK wide basis just isn’t collated for all sorts of important themes ( that’s why you hear so many references in stories to “England and Wales”). This yawning gap is something Whitehall is belatedly addressing with the devolved governments. I also have deep doubts that the demand for more reporting from the Nations and Regions is as great as the BBC Trust claims it is; it’s more the sort of right-on answer people give in surveys. However no doubt it’s a worthy, nation-building cause.
If you still feel left out of all this newfound BBC prominence, you know you who to complain to – and it aint Slugger.
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London