News-Watch Reports

General Election Survey – 14 May to 7 June 2001

A survey based on the comprehensive monitoring and transcribing of more than 250 programme items during the period of the 2001 general election  The analysis is divided into several key areas: first the coverage of Andrew Marr, the most high-profile BBC political editor in the BBC’s history, and Jeremy Paxman, its most important television interviewer, responsible for conducting the biggest encounters with the party leaders. It then moves to an examination of the main two radio programmes, Today and PM, and to a consideration of withdrawal, an issue not on the agenda of the main political parties. Finally, there is a look at the handling of what was said to be the issue of “missing MPs” – those such as the Tory Europhiles who had, according to correspondents, expediently absented themselves from the main campaigning.  

BBC ‘Europe and Us’ week, 18 February to 23 February 2001

News-watch, then known as Minotaur Media Tracking, investigated a strand of BBC programmes across radio and television channels in February 2001, entitled ‘Europe and Us’, which attempted to explore the UK’s relationship with the EU across a range of programme genres, from ‘reality television’ to documentary, studio debate, phone-ins, children’s programmes and bespoke web content.

Included in the survey were Today, On the Record,Referendum Street, Farming Today, NickyCampbell, 5 Live, Newsround, Churchill the European, the Citizens, Food Wars and Question Time.

Radio 4’s Today Programme Special Reports on Withdrawal – 29 January to 3 February, 2001

In the three days beginning January 30th, the Today programme mounted a series of items by reporter Sarah Nelson on the theme of whether the UK should withdraw from the EU, culminating on February 1, with a substantial portion of the programme being devoted to the topic.  News-watch monitored the programmes for a full week, and produced a content-analysis of all withdrawal-themed programme items.

Coverage of the European Union on the Today Programme, 22 May – 21 July 2000

News-watch – formerly known as Minotaur Media Tracking – sought to establish whether the BBC’s requirements of broad impartiality and fairness were met on Radio 4’s Today programme between 22 May – 21 July 2000. The nine-week survey interval was chosen at random, and the main EU-related story during this period was the growing evidence – denied repeatedly by the government – that there were splits in the cabinet over the approach to joining the euro. Coverage was also mounted of important topics including a Danish referendum on euro entry, an Austrian battle against EU sanctions and efforts in Ireland to control inflation against the alleged constraints of being in the eurozone.

 

Reporting of the 1999 Elections to the European Parliament on UK Terrestrial Television Services and BBC Radio 4

The purpose of the survey was to examine the precise content and range of the information presented to prospective voters in the European Elections by the main news bulletins and programmes on terrestrial television and on BBC Radio 4 in the five weeks up to the poll results on June 13, 1999.  The survey monitored and recorded the main news output of UK terrestrial television: BBC 1 and 2, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, as well as the main news bulletins and news programmes of BBC Radio 4.