ITV prepares for first linked news

ITV News is preparing to carry out its first link-up between its network and regional newsrooms to report on the single issue of binge drinking.

In a move only made possible since the reorganisation of the ITNproduced news service in April, filming will take place in cities across the 15 ITV news regions on 17 and 18 July.

Up to 20 news crews will visit pubs, go out with police patrols and visit accident and emergency departments of local hospitals, with a view to getting a “snapshot of the reality on a single night across Britain”. The crews want to discover whether so-called binge drinking is getting worse and what the consequences are. Coverage will also include responses from politicians.

Regional newsrooms will air the findings with their own slant on their respective bulletins on 19 July at 6pm, followed by joined-up packages featuring on the ITV Evening News at 6.30pm.

The ITV News Channel will also run programming on the subject, which will include a studio-based discussion.

According to Michael Jermey, new editor of ITV regions, this month’s link-up will be the first of many.

Following his appointment in April, ITN set up the ITV News Cooperation Group, comprising regional heads of news and chaired by Jermey.

The group meets once a month to discuss “operational matters and story matters” and to come up with new ideas for coverage.

“We’ve got a number of story projects like this underway and the ideas for these can come from a regional or network newsroom,” Jermey told Press Gazette.

Phil Carrodus, head of news at ITV Westcountry, is co-ordinating the binge drinking reports.

“I’ve been the point of liaison with all the regional newsrooms and making sure they are working along the right lines with the ITV national news so we have complementary coverage -national and regional – that helps to illuminate the issue.

“What I was after was ensuring we produced a range of coverage that was distinctive. We have got a range of ideas that will give a lot of light and shade to the coverage when it goes out on Monday,” he added.

By Wale Azeez

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