Saturday, 7 September 2013

ITV v BBC


Fusing a few of the last couple of day's posts together, a look at tonight's pair of quarter-hour long main evening news bulletins on BBC One and ITV News confirmed a few of the points being made by BBC viewers in the Radio Times. 

The BBC bulletin managed just four stories, reported in this order:

1. An intruder enters Buckingham Palace
2. Tony Abbott wins the Australian general election
3. Ed Miliband is under pressure over the report into Unite in Falkirk
4. 2020 Olympics. Who'll be awarded it?

Despite being the same length, the ITV bulletin had time for more news:

1. An intruder enters Buckingham Palace
2. Tony Abbott wins the Australian general election
3. Ed Miliband is under pressure over the report into Unite in Falkirk
4. Torrential rain in the NE of England causes people to be evacuated from their homes
5. 15 people killed after explosions in Somalia
6. 2020 Olympics. Who'll be awarded it?
7. Obama warms about chemical weapons and Syria, with Kerry seeking support abroad. Baroness Ashton backs Kerr 
8. Spaceship II's, the first commercial space ship, gets its test run

On the Ed Miliband/Unite story, ITV's talking heads were Conservative MP Grant Shapps, GMB leader Paul Kenny, and ex-Labour journalist Dan Hodges. The BBC's talking heads were Labour MP Tom Watson, Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman and Labour leader Ed Miliband. Another striking contrast, with the ITV's choice of talking heads far less helpful to Labour than those chosen by the BBC.

On the Australian election result, the ITV News bulletin gave us a factual report from reporter Joanna Simpson, telling us what had happened, giving us clips from both of the main party leaders, emphasising that this is "the second time in six years the country's new leader is British-born". ITV also pointed out (twice) David Cameron's welcoming of the victory of the centre-right Tony Abbott, and mentioned the "flagging economy". In contrast, the BBC report - part live, party pre-recorded, wasted a lot of time on Jon Donnison asking various Abbott supporters how they felt. (They were happy at the result, believe it or not.) There was no mention of the economy, though immigration was mentioned. There was no mention either of David Cameron's welcoming of Tony Abbott's victory from the BBC. Jon Donnison dwelt instead on the "right-wing" nature of Mr Abbott. 

ITV News was, without question, more informative than BBC News tonight.

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