BBC research confirms that local press does vast majority of frontline reporting

A study carried out by Tim Bishop of the BBC for both the BBC and the Newspaper Society sheds new light on where local news comes from.

He monitored news stories reported in Northamptonshire for a month on various media and concluded that the vast majority of frontline news reporting was carried out by the local newspapers in the patch.

It underlines the point that the regional press is the bedrock of British journalism because it does so much of the original reporting that other media rely on.

Perhaps surprisingly though, Bishop notes that out of the 4,000 stories which appeared in local newspapers and 400 stories which went out on the BBC local radio station, only 11 of the BBC radio stories over the month originated from the papers.

It’s often been a complaint that radio stations get most of their stories from the local press. But, according to Bishop’s research, this isn’t the case in Northamptonshire.

As for the ‘churnalism’ debate: Only 12 per cent of local newspaper stories came from press releases, Bishop reckons, versus 22 per cent for BBC local radio.

Here is his blog post on the About the BBC blog. And here’s his research in more detail.

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