Many British people get their news from the main evening bulletins on BBC One and ITV.
The choice of stories, the way they are ranked and the amount of time spent on each story can differ quite markedly between the BBC's News at Six and ITV News at 6.30.
What follows is a comprehensive review of the past week's bulletin, comparing each day's bulletins at 6.00 on BBC One and 6.30 on ITV. A short introduction is followed by a transcription of each programme's headline and then by a list of new stories covered in the order they were covered - and with timings for how much time was spent on each story.
As this is a blog about media bias, what do you think this survey says about BBC bias and ITV bias?
I'll let you judge for yourselves.
The two networks shared many of the same stories - and their lead story. The differences in emphasis (ranking and timings) were quite sharp however. The BBC spent much longer on bankers bonuses and the fracking protests than ITV while ITV spent much longer on the U.S.'s terror alert than the BBC.
"The mother and step-father of four-year-old Daniel Pelka are sentenced to life in prison for what the judge called 'their incomprehensible brutality'. Magdelena Luczak and Mariusz Krezolek beat, starved and terrorised Daniel over several months. By the time he died he was so emaciated he was compared to a concentration camp victim. 'This has been a very difficult case for all of those involved with it and we are pleased that justice has finally been achieved for Daniel Pelka'. We'll be looking at why the abuse of Daniel Pelka was allowed to continue until his death.
"Also tonight...RBS announces its new boss won't be taking a bonus as it reports pre-tax profits of a billion and a half pounds...Exploratory drilling for oil starts in West Sussex as police arrest anti-fracking campaigners...And the curious tale of Jane Austen's ring and the American pop star."Running order:
1. The sentencing of Daniel Pelka's killers (under six minutes)
2. RBS profits and new boss (three minutes)
3. Fracking begins in West Sussex (just over three minutes)
4. The U.S. issues a travel alert against an unspecified al-Qaeda alert (20 seconds)
5. Zimbabwean election (over two minutes)
6. The cost of living (just over three minutes)
7. Are the immigration checks racist? (two minutes)
8. Cricket: The Ashes (one and three-quarter minutes)
9. Jane Austen's ring and the American pop star (over three minutes)
10. Prince George's birth certificate (22 seconds)
"Life with a minimum of thirty years for the callous and wretched murder of Daniel Pelka. A judge condemns his mother and her partner for a campaign of 'incomprehensible brutality' which would have left the four-year-old absolutely terrified.
"Also tonight...The race row over the government's controversial tactics on immigration...A landslide and five more years for Mugabe despite fresh divisions over the legality of Zimbabwe's elections...and the American pop star banned from taking Jane Austen's ring out of the UK."Running order:
1. The sentencing of Daniel Pelka's killers (four and a half minutes)
2. Are the immigration checks unlawful? (two and a half minutes)
3. Zimbabwean election (over three minutes)
4. Royal Mail's chief executive hands back money the company gave her to buy a house (24 seconds
5. RBS gets a new chief executive and makes a profit (23 seconds)
6. The U.S. issues a travel alert against an unspecified al-Qaeda alert (over one and three-quarter minutes)
7. The cost of living (two and a half minutes)
8. A British women killed in Bangladesh (14 seconds)
9. Fracking begins in West Sussex (17 seconds)
10. Jane Austen's ring and the American pop star (one and three-quarter minutes)
11. Cricket: The Ashes (30 seconds)
12. Coventry City FC goes into liquidation (one and three-quarter minutes)
13. Prince George's birth certificate (29 seconds)
As its lead story, ITV News really got stuck into the issue of why little murdered Daniel Pelka had fallen through the net, like Baby P and Victoria Clambie before him, examining each social service's response (social workers, health workers, teachers, etc). BBC News, in contrast, failed to even mention the story. That was the first of several differences. Interestingly, the latest piece of carnage in Syria (a rebel rocket attack, apparently) went unreported by the BBC. As for why the BBC didn't cover Ariel Castro's sentencing at length well that was because the news was only coming in as the programme was being broadcast.
"Lloyds Bank, partly owned by the taxpayer, is back in profit. Losses in 2012, but it's already made £2 billion this year. The bank's share price is up. 'There's a great opportunity with any further price appreciation for the government to make a profit on the sale of its stake'. The BBC has learned that the government could start selling its stake as early as Monday morning.
"Also tonight...The American whistleblower Edward Snowden disappears from Moscow Airport. He's got temporary asylum in Russia...More than 200 raids across the country as officials look for illegal immigrants...Making profits out of parking. Councils in England make half a billion pounds last year...It's the comeback on the living room telly. The family's back on the sofa but now everyone's doing their own thing."Running order:
1. Lloyds Bank is back in profit (four and a half minutes)
2. Edward Snowden gets asylum in Russia (one and a half minutes)
3. The BBC had learned that 2/3 of fines issued to employers of illegal works remain unpaid. A crackdown on illegal immigrants (two and a half minutes)
4. English local authorities accused by RAC of making huge profits out of parking charges/fines (over two and a half minutes)
5. Zimbabwean election (two minutes)
6. Twitter abuse - three women journalists are abused (two and a half minutes)
7. BT launches a new sports channel to rival Sky (three minutes)
8. 30 new peers appointed to the House of Lords (32 seconds)
9. Hyde Park bomber given conditional bail at the Old Bailey (under one and a half minutes)
10. Ariel Castro, the American serial sexual abuser, is sentenced to life (22 seconds)
11. TV viewing habits now (two and a quarter minutes)
12. Cricket: The Ashes 26.53 (two minutes)
"The soul-searching sparked by thirty months of missed opportunities to save Daniel Pelka. The Deputy Prime Minister calls it 'a vile and evil murder' and asks why no one acted to save him. 'Poor Daniel's death is really on all of our consciences because it is just so utterly wrong to assume that this poor little four-year-old starved to death'.
"Also tonight...Mugabe claims victory in Zimbabwe. The opposition called the election 'a fix and a farce'...Confronting her captor and her nightmares. One of Ariel Castro's victims speaks out in court...And, thirty years on, what the Queen would have told the nation on the eve of World War Three."
1. Questions arising from the murder of Daniel Pelka (four minutes)
2. Zimbabwean election (over three minutes)
3. The sentencing of Ariel Castro (over two minutes)
4. 40 people killed, over 120 injured in an explosion in Syria (18 seconds)
5. Edward Snowden gets asylum in Russia (15 seconds)
6. Lloyds Bank is back in profit (one and a quarter minutes)
7. Zero hour contracts - more and more people are employed on them (over two minutes)
8. Drink driving deaths increased last year (14 seconds)
9. Former stuntman Eddie Kidd's wife is jailed for assaulting him (16 seconds)
10. Royal Mail employees will be balloted for strike action over privatisation (10 seconds)
11. English local authorities accused by RAC of making huge profits out of parking charges/fines
(two and a quarter minutes)
12. Cricket: The Ashes (just under two minutes)
13. The text of a speech by the Queen from 1983 in the event of a nuclear war (just over two minutes)
The ghastly story about the murder of 40-year-old Daniel Pelka understandably led both the BBC and ITV bulletins. Strikingly, however, the BBC's second story - the attack on David Cameron by Peter Cruddas (the BBC's angle on the story) - was not considered newsworthy enough to be reported (at all) by ITV. Perhaps just as strikingly, the BBC didn't think it newsworthy to report the death of the third soldier during training in Wales. While the BBC bulletin had a report on misbehaving private businesses, ITV ended with a royal story. Both broadcasters covered the elections in Zimbabwe.
"The mother and partner of a 4-year old boy are found guilty of murder after starving and beating him to death. Daniel Pelka was the weight of a 18-month old child when he died. The court heard that the adults took relish in abusing him. 'He was starved. He was beaten on a regular basis. He was imprisoned in a box room. He was drowned to the point of unconsciousness on occasion.' Now there'll be questions for the teachers, social workers, doctors and police who came into contact with Daniel.
"Also tonight...a former Tory Party fund raiser wins a libel case against The Sunday Times and blasts David Cameron in the process...A key ruling for this right-to-die campaigner. The Court of Appeal says the law needs clarifying...Private detectives will have to be licensed from next year. MPs say many gained access to information illegally...Elections in Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe wants another five years. He's already been in charge for 33...Rihanna wins a court case against Top Shop after it sold t-shirts with her image on them".Running order:
1. The murder of Daniel Pelka by his mother and her partner (five and a half minutes)
2. Conservative donor Peter Cruddas attacks David Cameron after wining his libel case against The Sunday Times (just under three minutes)
3. Mid Staffs Trust to be dissolved (just under three minutes)
4. Jeremy Hunt's decision to cut services at Lewisham Hospital declared unlawful (22 seconds)
5. Doreen Lawrence is made a Labour peer (20 seconds)
6. Assisted suicide (three and a quarter minutes)
7. Zimbabwean election (just over two and a half minutes)
8. Private investigators will need a licence from next year (under three minutes)
9. Rihanna wins a court case against Top Shop over t-shirts bearing her image (2 minutes)
10. Cricket: The Ashes (just over two minutes)
"A mother and her partner convicted of the murder of her 4-year old son. Daniel Pelka was beaten, drowned and poisoned and left for two days to die alone. Police say the couple's murder of Daniel ended a wretched existence.
"Also tonight...a right-to-die claim rejected in the Court of Appeal, but Paul Lamb says he'll not give up...Zimbabwe votes in big numbers with much excitement but fears remain of the Mugabe fix...Former footman dreaming of a new visa to bring him back to the palace."Running order:
1. The murder of Daniel Pelka by his mother and her partner (just under seven and a half minutes)
2. Assisted suicide (two and a half minutes)
3. Zimbabwean election (over three minutes)
4. A third soldier dies after an SAS training exercise in hot temperatures (two minutes)
5. Jeremy Hunt's decision to cut services at Lewisham Hospital declared unlawful (over a minute)
6. Mid Staffs Trust to be dissolved (18 seconds)
7. Anti-fracking protests in Balcombe (14 seconds)
8. Doreen Lawrence is made a Labour peer (11 seconds)9. The story of the footman who announced the royal birth outside Buckingham Palace (just under two minutes)
The BBC has a tendency to make 'benefit cuts' stories their lead news item on days when most of the rest of the UK media rank the self-same story much lower down their new agenda. Today provided another example of that.
The BBC's lead story concerned the distress of the twenty or so disabled benefits claimants who'd lost their court case against the government over the 'spare room subsidy/bedroom tax'. ITV News, however, considered the story to be far less newsworthy. While the BBC led with the story and spent over four minutes on it, ITV placed the story in 7th place and gave it less than a quarter of a minute's air-time.
The row over the extreme abuse of a feminist campaigner and two female MPs on Twitter was elevated to the second-most-important story by the BBC. ITV, in contrast, passed over it in just 13 seconds.
ITV continued its coverage of the elections in Zimbabwe.
"The High Court dismisses a legal challenge to the government's landmark reform of the housing benefit system. The ruling says that the cut in benefit for those living in social housing does not discriminate against disabled people. 'It seems to me that they've come after the most vulnerable and easy targets that they could possibly go after.' But tonight ministers say the reforms are fair and legal.
Running order:"Also tonight...The boss of the Twitter social networking site could be questioned by MPs. It follows a new wave of online abuse...A big drop in Barclays' share price after the regulator spots a multi-billion pound shortfall in funds to protect savers and depositors...Who says we Brits are grumpy? The latest survey shows we're getting happier by the year."
1. The court case over disability benefit cuts (just over 4 minutes)
2. Twitter abuse (just under two and a half minutes)
3. Barclays share price falls (just over 3 minutes)
4. Court martial of Bradley Manning (just under 2 minutes)
5. Middle East peace talks set to begin (14 seconds)
6. EU's Cathy Ashton meets ousted-president Morsi (24 seconds)
7. The controversy over a survey of hospital patients which suggests most people are satisfied (just under 3 minutes)
8. UK wellbeing survey (well over 3 minutes)
9. Vicky Price stripped of her honour (19 seconds)
10. Update on the Spanish train crash (23 seconds)
11. Lord Howell (Conservative) says fracking should take place in 'desolate' parts of Northern England, not the south (over one and a half minutes)
12. More jellyfish on our coasts because of warm weather (over one and a half minutes)
13. A stolen rare violin has been found (over 2 minutes)
Running order:"Controversy over the Family and Friends test for the NHS in England. The government claims it's a thumbs-up and will help hospitals raise their game further. Critics say it's misleading."Also tonight...Not guilty of aiding the enemy, but Bradley Manning still faces a long spell in jail for the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history...Ahead of polling Zimbabwe's Mugabe tells ITV News elections will not be rigged...and, after flash floods hit West Yorkshire, the clean-up in ruined homes."
1. The controversy over a survey of hospital patients which suggests most people are satisfied (over three and a half minutes)
2. Court martial of Bradley Manning (just over 3 minutes)
3. Barclays share price falls (over one and a half minutes)
4. Pakistan Taliban prisoners escape (2 minutes)
5. Zimbabwean election - interview with Mugabe (just under three and a half minutes)
6. Lord Howell (Conservative) says fracking should take place in 'desolate' parts of Northern England, not the south (just under 2 minutes)
7. The court case over disability benefit cuts (14 seconds)
8. Twitter abuse (13 seconds)
9. Flooding in West Yorkshire (over 2 minutes)
10. UK wellbeing survey (under 2 minutes)
The NHS 111 Helpline led both bulletins, though only the BBC's headline gave it an emphatic anti-government spin.
The UK-Spanish dispute over Gibraltar was a story on the BBC's bulletin. ITV's bulletin didn't report it but promised that their News at Ten would feature a report on it.
ITV began its coverage of the elections in Zimbabwe.
"A new crisis for the NHS 111 Helpline. Now one of its main contractors says it will pull out. Managers promise to keep the service going, but some doctors blame a market-style reorganisation of the NHS. 'At the heart of this has been the drive by government to enforce a competitive tendering approach in the NHS'. We'll be asking what ministers plan to do.
"Also tonight...what caused a holiday coach in Italy to plunge a hundred feet into a ravine killing 39 people...the top Catholic school in the Highlands where boys were abused for decades. We have a special report...The Bolshoi Ballet comes to London for its 50th anniversary, but what about those backstage scandals?"
1. NHS 111 Helpline in crisis (just under four and a half minutes)
2. Italy's worst road accident in decades (two and a half minutes)
3. Teenager girl is stabbed in Manchester (over two minutes)
4. UK-Spanish friction over Gibraltar (one and a half minutes)
5. Car-bomb attacks in Iraq (17 seconds)
6. A BBC investigation finds abuse at two Catholic schools in Scotland (3 minutes)
7. Are energy companies making excess profits? (just under 3 minutes)
8. Pope Francis's conciliatory words on gay people (under one and a half minutes)
9. Labour MP calls on Twitter to crack down on abuse (20 seconds)
10. Double yellow lines - government plans to loosen controls on parking in towns (just under two and a half minutes)
11. The Bolshoi Ballet at Covent Garden (just under two and a half minutes)
"An emergency for NHS England's non-emergency call line. The biggest provider wants out. NHS Direct says the 111 service is unviable. Doctor who are supposed to cover out of hours call it an abject failure. 'They were warned and warned this wasn't going to work. They didn't listen.
Running order:"Also tonight...at least 38 people have been killed in Italy. The coach carrying them plunged off a flyover...'Who am I to judge?' The Pope's message on gay people challenges traditional Catholics...A few minutes grace on yellow parking lines. Good for business or double trouble?"
1. NHS 111 Helpline in crisis (just over four minutes)
2. Italy's worst road accident in decades (just under two and a half minutes)
3. Memorial service in Spain for victims of the train crash (20 seconds)
4. Car-bomb attacks in Iraq (8 seconds)
5. Jurors imprisoned for using the internet during trials (one and a half minutes)
6. Pope Francis's conciliatory words on gay people (just under two minutes)
7. ITV has discovered evidence of election fraud in Zimbabwe (three and a half minutes)
8. Teenager girl is stabbed in Manchester (17 seconds)
9. Advances in curing testicular cancer (just over two minutes)
10. Double yellow lines - government plans to loosen controls on parking in towns (just over two minutes)