Wednesday, October 03, 2007

We Want The News

The plans for ITV Borders News to be combined with Tyne Tees is bad news for the Scottish Borders. Our region already suffers from a lack of coverage in the broadcast media and unless there is renewed focus on the issue it will not improve.

For years the Borders have suffered from being stuck in the sandwich of Northern England on the one hand and the Central belt of Scotland on the other. It’s as if nothing of substance happens in the region; the forgotten frontier of broadcasting is what we’ve become.

It’s easy to see, from an economic viewpoint, why ITV want to make this move. The Borders is a small area of just over 100,000 people and even when added to the area in England that ITV Borders covers it is still not a large potential number of viewers. However, with the Scottish Parliament our ‘news’ is very different in slant and substance from what is relevant to the English side of the Border. With any amalgamation of ITV News the Scottish Borders will virtually slip of their news radar as much of what would be covered is of no interest to the majority of their viewers.

So what are the alternatives? Either the change doesn’t happen or the Scottish Borders should get ITV Scotland programmes and we break from the Borders franchise altogether. That way at least the news will be more relevant on political issues. If this were to happen, and can happen technically, then it requires a commitment from ITV Scotland to place emphasis on the region from newsgathering as well as a dissemination.

Currently the BBC TV and radio cover the region within their overall output with ‘split’ news bulletins being broadcast solely for the Borders. We need to see a vast improvement in the BBC’s newsgathering within the Border region so that they are able to give us emphasis on what is important to us. Besides the odd story about the Waverley line and foot and mouth outbreaks the news about the Borders on the BBC has tended to be ‘soft’ stories.

We need our MPs and MSPs to be calling for change that will not see the Scottish Borders becoming a forgotten backwater. We are in danger of fulfilling the news media’s prophecy of disinterest.

1 comment:

Julian Crenshaw said...

Jings !, no comments ? must be a backwater then ? Where exactly are the Borders anyway ? Are they English or Scottish ?