ITV News Lookaround: September 2013-2015

On 23 May 2012, ITV announced proposals for further changes on its regional news programming, with “some content replaced with aggregate of news from several regions” and an expansion in sub-regional coverage. In November, upon the renewal of ITV’s licences for a further ten years, Culture Secretary Maria Millar asked Ofcom to look into proposals for the Border region which would leave Southern Scotland viewers without “the same level of Scottish programming as viewers elsewhere in the country”, covered by STV, Culture Secretary Maria Millar asked Ofcom to look at this proposal. In a consultation document, Ofcom set out two potential options, with any changes coming into effect in 2015 at the latest. ITV proposed re-introducing a full news service exclusively for the Border region, including the return of half-hour editions of Lookaround and short news bulletins, as well as introducing a weekly current affairs programme for the region. The second option was to enforce ITV Border to broadcast 90 minutes a week of non-news programming, including programming from STV.

Press reports indicated a political split in opinion on the issue. In April, the Borders Chamber and members of the local authority at Newton and the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce publicly supported the second option – with the Chamber calling for a national ITV service for the whole of Scotland. Two members of the UK Government – Scottish Secretary of State Michael Moore and deputy David Mundell (both MPs in the Border region) – backed ITV’s proposal for a Border current affairs programme while the Scottish Government called for STV programming (including Scotland Tonight) to be simulcast. On 16 May 2013, the first televised Scottish independence debate was broadcast on STV’s Scotland Tonight across northern and central Scotland, however viewers in the south of the country were unable to see it as ITV Border took the decision not to broadcast it, leading to further criticism from politicians in the region. Michael Jermey, ITV Director of News and Current Affairs, pledged some programming from STV would air on ITV Border. On 23 July 2013, OFCOM announced it had approved the second option of Scottish non-news programming. The regulator also ordered ITV to reopen the former Border Scotland service previously utilized for split news bulletins and simulcasts of select STV programming. The weekly 90 minutes of Scottish programming will not be seen in Cumbria, where network output will continue to air. The opt-out service is due to be launched in January 2014.

On 14 June 2013, it was reported Lookaround would be restored to a full 30-minute programme along with ITV recruiting journalists for an Autumn launch. A month later, Ofcom approved ITV’s plans to restore Border’s news service. All short bulletins – including daytime and weekend updates – are now exclusive to the Border region, however with the minutage decreased.

On 16 September 2013, the changes came into effect with Lookaround being fully restored. ITV Tyne Tees & Border continues to broadcast from the Gateshead studios – as such, both regional services utilise exactly the same presenter(s) and studio/set, therefore – depending on the day’s news – one is pre-recorded ‘as live’ shortly before broadcast of each bulletin. The head of news is Michaela Byrne.

With thanks to Pakokelso2013 for most of the pics.

Lookaround Titles

Studio and Presenter Shots


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Border Titles

Studio and Presenter Shots

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The weather continues to be pan regional.