Monday, 13 August 2012

Which newspapers most shape Today's headlines?

Now and then you hear talk of the BBC/Guardian agenda, how the news priority of the BBC and the Guardian are pretty much interchangeable.

This got me thinking. Has anyone measured this? Granted there are times, such as the Jeremy Hunt furore earlier in the year when it felt like there could some truth to this.. But do people who level this charge only notice when both go big on say, phone hacking revelations, but ignore the other more divergent days?

To try to find out, I devised a small, and probably pretty flawed experiment.

In short I kept tabs of what were the top stories on BBC, represented by the Today programme's top story and it's 8:10 interview slot, and compared this to the front pages of The Times, Guardian, Telegraph, Indy and Mail.

I chose not to include The Express, for had I done so comparing weather reports would probably have been more appropriate.

When the front page lead matched either of the items on Today it got two points, if it was anything else on the front page it got one point. This ran between the 6th and 25th of July.

I had planned to do this over a couple of months, but the Olympics has simply crapped it all up, so rather than letting my limited, limited data got to waste here it is.

As you see it is the Dailies Telegraph and Mail who come top, with the Guardian only taking the bronze medal.

What does this prove? Probably not a lot on its own, due to short time frame. Also as the Telegraph puts more stories on its front page, it probably has more chance of having a match up with Today.

The Mail however only tend to run one front page lead, so in theory would have less chance of scoring big, so this is perhaps the most intriguing result.

So does this mean that accusations BBC-Guardian news empathy are baloney? Of course not, not on this data anyway.

But what we can say is that in terms of news priority, for three weeks in July, the BBC's flagship current affairs radio show echoed the priorities of right of centre newspapers at least as much as it did those leftie outfits.

I plant to run this again when silly season is well and truly over, so if you have any suggestions about how the methodology could be improved, do let me know.


Since that graph doesn't explain very much on it's own here is the working out. For brevity I have only listed secondary front page stories when they matched. A secondary any of the other reports which begin on the front page.

If you spot any errors, please let me know

6th July 2012

Today Top Story: Lords Reform
Today 8:10 GSK

Guardian:  1. PFI (0 Points)
Times:  Adoption (0 points)
Telegraph: Tests for 11 year olds (0 points)
Independent: Lords reform (2 points)
Mail: Megabus bombscare (0 points)

7th July 2012

Today top story: Social Care
Today 8:10 Megabus Bombscare

Guardian:  Lords reform
Times  Andy Murray/Wimbldeon
Telegraph: Social Care (2 points)
Independent: Libor
Mail: Andy Murray

9th Jul 2012

Today Top Story: Lords reform
Today 8:10 Andy Murray

Guardian: 1. Hacking 2. Murray (1 point) 
Times: 1. 2. Murray (1 point)
Telegraph 1. Pensioners 2. Murray (1 point)
Independent 1. Libor 2/ Murray (1 point)
Mail 1. Murray (2 points)

10th July 2012

Today Top Story: Shooting of policeman
Today 8:10: Lords Reform

Guardian: 1. City Lobbying 2. Lords reform (1 point)
Times Lord Reform (2 points)
Telegraph 1. Strokes 2. Murdered Policeman (1 point)
Independent Pensioners benefits to be cut (0 points)
Mail Police Officer shot (2 points)

11th July 2012
Today Top Story: Social Care
Today 8.10: Social Care

Guardian: Lords Reform (0 points)
Times Lords Reform (0 points)
Telegraph Social Care(4 points)
Independent Lords Reform (0 points)
Daily Mail Social Care (4 Points)

12 July 2012
Today Top Story Olympic Security/Troops
Today 8.10 Olympic Security/Troops

Guardian Olympic Security Troops (4 points)
Times Traveller 'slavery' family (0 points)
Telegraph  1. Flooding 2. Olympic Troops (1 point)
Independent Elderly care (0 points)
Daily Mail: MPs' free olympic tickets (0 points)

13 July 2012
Today Top Story Syria
Today 8.10 Death from thirst in Hospital

Guardian: Bahrai Arms Sales (0 points)
Times: Olympic Security (0 points)
Telegraph Iran Nukes intelligence (0 points) 2, Death from thirst in hospital (1 point)
Independent: OBR on migrants (0 points)
Daily Mail: Olympic Security (0 points)

14th July 2012

Today Top Story: G4S
Today 8.10 Road Death Figures

Guardian John Terry case (0 points)
Times Syria (0 points)
Telegraph 40mph limits on rural roads (linked to road death stats so 1 point)
Independent: Libor (0 points)
Daily Mail: Olympic Security (2 points)

16th July 2012

Today Top Story £9bn rail plan
Today 8.10 £9bn rail plan

Guardian Free Scientific research (0 points)
Times Olympic Security (0 points)
Telegraph : Was petrol price rigged? (0 points)
Independent: Olympic Brand Police (0 points)
Daily Mail: Sex convicts freed (0 points)

17 July 2012

Today Top Story G4s/Olympic Security
Today 8.10 Olympic sponsorship

Guardian: Olympic Security (2 points)
Times: 1. Poll 2. Olympics (1 points)
Telegraph: Population surge 2. Olympic Security (1 point)
Independent Olympics Security (2 points)
Daily Mail: BBC tax dodging

18 July 2012

Today Top Story Troubled families
Today 8.10 Troubled families

Guardian HSBC
Times HSBC
Telegraph Pension
Independent Ministers lobby for olympic cash
Daily Mail HSBC

19 July 2012

Today Top Story Co-op buys lloyds
Today 8.10: Syria

Guardian: Syria (2 points)
Times  Syria (2 points)
Telegraph: 1. Austerity to continue 
Independent Syria (2 points)
Daily Mail UK Flagship

20 July 2012

Today Top Story: Syria
Today 8.10: Olympics (Lord Coe interview)

Guardian Simon Harwood 2. Syria (1 point)
Times IMF House Price Warning
Telegraph Border Strike 2. Olympics (1 point)
Independent Harwood 2. Olympics (1 point)
Daily Mail Simon Harwood

21 July 2012

Today Top Story Milk prices
Today 8.10 Syria

Guardian: China nuclear plant bid
Times Batman killer 
Telegraph  Problem families
Independent: Olympic branding
Daily Mail Batman killer

23 July 2012

Today Top Story UKBA backlog
Today 8.10 Violence against women

Guardian: Yeo attack on Osborne
Times: Tax avoiders to be named and shamed
Telegraph Call to reform pensions charges
Independent: Tax avoiders name and shame
Daily Mail: BBC tells stars to dodge tax

24 July

Today Top Story: Eurozone crisis
Today 8.10 Eurozone crisis

Guardian: G4S
Times: Syria 
Telegraph Cash in hand row 2. Eurozone (1 point)
Independent 1. Syria 2. Eurozone (1 point)
Daily Mail: Cash in hand row

25 July 

Today Top Story: First Day of Olympic Events
Today 8:10 Olympic Strike/Security

Guardian: Brooks/Coulson Charges
Times: Hacking charges/ Cash in hand row
Telegraph: Cash in hand 2/ Olympics starts (1 point)
Independent: 1. Hacking Charges 2. Olympics (1 point)
Daily Mail:  Olympics Strike (2 points)

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