Four weeks ago I started my epic quest to
find new ways to procrastinate discover whether those Northerners are right and that the BBC News has a massive London bias.
To this end I started logging the weekday BBC News at Six(1) and determining how each region fared. I used the three nations + the official regions to avoid definition problems but I have occasionally combined the North East, the North West and Yorkshire & Humberside for an aggregate Northern result. Any who objects to this methodology should feel to do their own fucking survey.
I have two caveats, Scotland (and to a lesser extent Northern Ireland) technically aren't covered by National stories that involve devolved powers but I've retained national for simplicity sake. Given that Scottish MPs can vote on these issues and that 17% of the current cabinet are Scottish it doesn't seem that outlandish. The other, more important caveat, is that I'm doing this entirely for my own satisfaction and to test whether my prejudices are right or not. These results do not reach any kind of sociological or social-policy standard.
The totals in the last four weeks are thus...
Stripping out the national and international news and aggregating the north we get the following.
As you can see the North actually gets the most coverage but.... and this is a big but - the North is by far the largest region with 24% of UK's population. If you rank the regions/nations by the ratio of news to population you get a very different result.
This shows that that the North is indeed apparently under represented, given the size of its population, However I did notice a wide fluctuation in coverage from day to day and week to week so I think it'll probably need at least six months of data to give a wide enough sample to satisfy me.
(1) Believe it or not I used to do this for a living.