Sky News will send more reporters out of the newsroom as part of a new initiative to get a “clear and balanced” view of what is happening on the ground across the UK.
Throughout 2018, journalists will report from “Line 18” – a route through the UK which has been plotted “in search of the surprising truth of a fractured Britain”.
The line, along which almost half the British public live, runs from Essex to London, through the Midlands to Manchester, Glasgow and across to Belfast.
Sky News head of newsgathering Jonathan Levy said: “The stories that Sky News finds here aim to give a clear and balanced picture of what’s going on in our country, more so than the normal dividing lines of north and south, town and country, young and old.”
Levy shared the sentiment of BBC media editor Amol Rajan in a speech that journalists need to “take a look in the mirror” after failing to call many of the decade’s biggest stories.
In a piece headlined: “Journalists need to get out more,” Levy wrote: “Journalism’s recent poor record in identifying what’s really going on is a sorry story of not seeing the whole for all the parts.
“The Brexit vote, Donald Trump’s victory and Jeremy Corbyn’s electoral durability took most of the news media by surprise. Clearly, journalists need to get out more.”
Sky News reporters will look into the impact of automation on communities, the social attitudes of the millennial generation, and issues including religion, race and poverty to examine how the UK is changing in 2018.
Levy said: “The balance we’re trying to strike is between the coverage of institutions – governments, parliaments, think tanks – and the views and experiences of ordinary people and their everyday lives.
“Stick too close to the former and there’s a real danger of missing what’s really going on with the latter. It’s a recipe for getting caught out.”
He admitted that in the build up to the Brexit vote, Sky News journalists were among those who assumed voters would take heed of warnings from the Government, the Bank of England and the City and vote to remain in the European Union.
He said more attention should have been paid instead to a report by Sky’s Lisa Holland on the Dorset coast looking at attitudes towards immigration, which turned out to be a key factor in the referendum.
Line 18 reports already published include “The life of the rich and famous in Cheshire” and “Is wealth just about having money?” which asked people around Britain how they would define wealth.
Picture: Sky News