In October 2020 News–watch began reviewing, cataloguing and fully transcribing all content published online by BBC Ideas. By the survey’s end, on the third anniversary of the service’s launch, 11 January 2021, this amounted to 599 individual films with a combined running time of 37 hours 13minutes, generating over 371,000 words of transcription.
News-watch monitored ten BBC news and current affairs programmes for eight days, from Monday 6 July 2020 to the launch of the government’s ‘The UK’s New Start: Let’s Get Going’ campaign on Monday 13 July. The BBC Radio 4 broadcasts in the survey were: Today; The World at One (including The World This Weekend on Sunday); PM; The Six O’Clock News; and The World Tonight. The television programmes comprised the main BBC1 bulletins (News at One, News at Six and News at Ten and the Weekend News); BBC 2’s Newsnight; and three daily editions of Newsround on the CBBC channel.
News-watch monitored Radio 4’s Today programme in full from the dissolution of Parliament on Wednesday 6 November until the eve of polling on Wednesday 11 December 2019, an interval of five weeks and one day. This coincided with the period in which the BBC’s Election Guidelines were in effect, applicable to all the Corporation’s outlets, which set out its obligation to ensure that political parties are covered ‘proportionately’ during the campaign.
News-watch monitored all editions of Today over a seven week interval, starting on the day campaigning for the 2019 European Parliamentary Elections began, Friday 12 April 2019 and culminating on Thursday 30 May 2019, a week after the UK vote. The 42 consecutive editions of Today were recorded and listened to in full, and a detailed running log was compiled of all the items broadcast. Each was timed and categorised by theme, and all sequences relating to the EU, the European Parliamentary Elections or Brexit were fully transcribed, generating almost 333,000 words of text.
News-watch monitored and logged three complete editions of Today between 14 and 16 January, to coincide with the ‘meaningful vote’ scheduled in the House of Commons on the evening of 15 January. All reports pertaining to Brexit, the European Union and its relationship with the UK, or the ‘meaningful vote’ on Theresa May’s Brexit deal were full transcribed.
News-watch monitored and logged every edition of Today between 17 September and 20 October, a period of five weeks or 30 editions. Detailed monitoring was undertaken for the weeks of the European Council meeting in Salzburg (17-22 September) and the Informal Meeting of Heads of State and Government in Brussels (15-20 October). This involved the full transcription of all reports pertaining to Brexit or the UK’s relationship with the European Union, as well as the analysis of these transcripts both quantitatively and qualitatively.
News-watch monitored and analysed all thirteen editions of ‘Brexit: A Love Story?’, broadcast between March and September 2018 as part of Radio 4’s lunchtime news and current affairs programme, The World at One. The series was also made available as a podcast, and for download through iPlayer from its dedicated web page.
On March 29, 2018 BBC Radio 4 broadcast a day of programmes about Brexit designed to reflect the issues involved one year before the EU departure date.
Eight separate programmes were involved: special editions of Today, The Long View (a historical discussion programme), The World at One, Dead Ringers and the World Tonight, along with ad hoc commissions The Channel, The Brexit Lab and The EU after Brexit.
News-watch monitored the five editions in Series 3 of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Brexit: A Guide for The Perplexed’, broadcast each lunchtime between Monday 19 and Friday 23 February, 2018.
Each programme was a 12-minute pre-recorded package, presented by the BBC’s Europe Correspondent, Chris Morris. The titles were: ‘Medicines’; ‘Food’; ‘Gibraltar’, ‘Brexit’s most Vulnerable’ (principally about post-Brexit prospects in the West Midlands), and ‘Status Quo’ (about the transition period).