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Accuracy and impartiality in coverage of the 4 nations


Grant Holders: Professor Justin Lewis & Dr Stephen Cushion

Researcher: Chris Groves

Funder: BBC Trust

Period: October 07 to March 08

An analysis of the broadcast news coverage of the 4 nations in order to explore issues of impartiality and accuracy in the representation of devolved government in the UK.

It was once famously said that devolution is a process, not an event. The fear, at least in part, was that devolution would be made into a one off media spectacle rather than a long term settlement where citizens would be informed, on a daily basis, of the legislative business conducted in the newly acquired political institutions. In time, it was thought, the nations would grow into their Assemblies, and slowly come to grips with the purpose and function of devolved governance. But how far, eight years on, the news media have met the considerable challenge of covering the unfolding narrative of devolution in the UK remains unclear.

Research Outputs

The research led to the following publications (including the 2007 study):

Worked with the BBC Trust to produce to detailed research reports

Lewis, Justin, Cushion, Stephen, Groves, Chris, Bennett, Lucy, Reardon, Sally, Wilkins, Emma, Williams, Rebecca (2008) Four Nations Impartiality Review: An analysis of reporting devolution. BBC Trust publication. [917KB]

Cushion, Stephen, Lewis, Justin and Ramsay, G. (2010) Four Nations Impartiality Review Follow-up: An analysis of reporting devolution. London: BBC Trust Publication.

The findings also developed into academic peer reviewed articles in key journals:

Cushion, S., Lewis, J. M. W. and Groves, C. R. 2009. Reflecting the four nations? An analysis of reporting devolution on UK network news mediaJournalism Studies 10(5), pp. 655-671. (10.1080/14616700902797242)

Cushion, S., Lewis, J. M. W. and Groves, C. R. 2009. Prioritizing hand-shaking over policy-making: A study of how the 2007 devolved elections was reported on BBC UK network coverageCyfrwng: Media Wales Journal 6

Cushion,Stephen., Lewis, Justin and Ramsay, Gordan. (2012). The impact of interventionist regulation in reshaping news agendas: A comparative analysis of public and commercially funded television journalismJournalism 13(7), pp. 831-849. (10.1177/1464884911431536)

Cushion, Stephen (2012). Television journalism. Journalism Studies: Key Texts. London: SAGE Publications.

Cushion, Stephen (2013) 'Assessing, measuring and applying ‘public value tests’ beyond new media: Interpreting impartiality and plurality in debates about journalism standards' in Barko, Leon (ed.)From Theory to Practice: How to Assess and Apply Impartiality in News and Current Affairs. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Cushion, Stephen (2013) 'Do public service media (still) matter? Evaluating the supply, quality and impact of television news in Western Europe' in Kuhn, Raymond and Neilson, Rasmus Kleis, Political Journalism in Transition: Western Europe in Comparative Perspective. London :I.B. Tauris