BBC network news coverage of the four UK nations - 2010 follow-up

Date: 29.07.2010     Last updated: 24.11.2016 at 11.11

Two years ago the BBC Trust published independent research it had commissioned that revealed clear shortcomings in BBC network news reporting of devolution – the shift of power from Westminster to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The concern was not about the impartiality of the BBC's reporting, but about the accuracy, clarity and balance of the reporting, and about missed opportunities to report the rich variety of the UK.

The Trust asked the BBC Executive to remedy matters and in October 2009 the Trust published an assessment by the Executive of improvements in coverage made since the publication of the original research. The Trust said it was encouraging to see that operational changes had been made to ensure network news and current affairs coverage reflected more precisely the different politics and policies around the UK. However, the Trust still saw further room to build on this groundwork and it commissioned its own independent research to assess progress.

The Trust has published that research, which was carried out by Cardiff University and included a detailed content analysis of four weeks of network news and current affairs in October and November 2009.

BBC network news coverage of the four UK nations - follow-up

Note of 23 November 2016

In preparing the 2015 and 2016 Nations Impartiality follow-up reports for publication, an error in Cardiff University’s 2010 report came to light. On page 21 of the 2010 report, the figure next to 'Other' in the first column of table 3.3, should be a '9' rather than a '0', and so the total of that column should be '250' rather than '241'. Consequently the text above the table should read: "the number of references to devolution increased nearly sevenfold on BBC outlets (71 to 489) and threefold on other channels." This does not change the overall findings but the correction is recorded here for clarity.