Thursday, 8 November 2018

The BBC's US coverage: Is it too overwhelming?

Here's a collection of tweets from Sunder Katwala of British Future yesterday that might be of interest. (I was put in mind of them by a comment from Arthur Trof on the Open Thread). See what you think:

I would not be surprised if the BBC flagship news programmes do more coverage of a US mid-term election than they would of all General Elections in every G20 and EU27 democracy put together (France, Germany, Italy, India, Canada, Japan, Korea, South Africa, etc). 
We get some coverage if an election (Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Italy, Brazil) has a "rise of the far right" angle (unless central/Eastern Europe), but that's more or less it. Except USA, where mid-term Senate, House & Governors + primaries all get covered in depth. 
Obviously language is a factor. PR elections are more boring. But also a feedback loop here: we know the US context and cast so can follow the soap opera. We haven't been introduced to many key characters anywhere else (bar occasional baddies, eg Bolsonaro).  
Today programme was this morning discussing who might emerge in the next US Presidential primaries - which will start in 16 months time in February 2020, ahead of the Presidential election in two years time.

And on that theme, here's a list (with Twitter links) of the main BBC reporters covering the US midterms, as per the BBC News website. I don't think it would be entirely unfair to say that there's quite a few of them - and, it's far from complete. (I've heard lots of others - Jim Naughtie, Emily Maitlis, Hilary Andersson, Justin Webb, just off the top of my head).

Katty Kay, World News presenter @KattyKayBBC
Jon Sopel, North America editor @BBCJonSopel
Dave Lee, technology correspondent @DaveLeeBBC
Anthony Zurcher, North America correspondent @awzurcher
Dan Johnson, North America correspondent @DanJohnsonNews
Chris Buckler, North America correspondent @csbuckler
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nick Bryant, New York correspondent @NickBryantNY
Miami, Florida
Rajini Vaidyanathan, North America correspondent @BBCRajiniV
Houston, Texas
Gary O'Donoghue, Washington correspondent @BBCBlindGazza
New Jersey
Nada Tawfik, New York correspondent @bbcnadatawfik
James Cook, North America correspondent @BBCJamesCook
Peter Bowes, North America correspondent @peterbowes


  1. “Language is a factor”

    Works both ways ! Because we in Britain can tune into anything from Fox to CNN and get the American news direct. It would be much more benefit to Wells if the BBC would report on those countries with languages we don’t fully understand from China to Russia to France from Germany .

    The BBC’s obsession with trying to interpret it for us is a complete waste of time and our money
    My belief os its only done to benefit the BBC’s staff themselves.

  2. Dan Johnson has landed safely on his feet - in fact he's landed in clover - with this plumb job. He conspired with 'a source' to put Cliff Richard through a living hell. His head certainly didn't roll. Instead he was rewarded and taken to the bosom of aunty, gaining a free pass via a quick look-in at the Grenfell tragedy and the cave rescue story to be given the job of jobs at the BBC.