News and News Magazines

A cameraman rushes his film from plane to studios for transmission. Southern.
A cameraman rushes his film from plane to studios for transmission. Southern.

The daily programmes of national and international news are provided throughout Independent Television by a special news company, Independent Television News Limited (ITN). Regional news programmes and news magazines are produced and presented by the individual programme companies.

The importance with which Independent Television regards news may be judged by the fact that of the 137 hours of programmes produced by the programme companies each week 35 hours, or 26 per cent, consist of news and news magazines. This total is made up of 3½ hours of national and international news, 11½ hours of regional news, and 20 hours of news magazines. In any single ITV area the programmes each week include over 3 hours of national and international news, and usually 2-3 hours of regional news and news magazines.

National and Foreign News

When Independent Television was in its formative stage it was decided that the specialised task of gathering and presenting the national and international news could best be done by a single company, with its own staff, premises, studios and equipment.

ITN was established in May 1955, by agreement between the ITA and the first four programme companies, as a non-profit-making company. The shares were entirely owned by the four programme companies — A-R, ATV, Granada and ABC — and subsequently Scottish Television and TWW joined the board as additional shareholders. The other programme companies all agreed, as each came on the air, to take their national and foreign news from ITN.

ITN transmits three main news bulletins each day. On Mondays to Fridays inclusive these are at 5.55 p.m. (11 minutes), 9 p.m. (15 minutes) and after 11 p.m. (2 minutes). On Saturdays there is an additional bulletin at 1.15 p.m. (5 minutes) and on Sundays there are three bulletins. All Monday-Friday bulletins are fully networked, as are the first three on Saturdays; the remainder are taken by the majority of companies.

ITN also produces each weekday a 10-minute news magazine Dateline, which is partially networked. From time to time ITN produces special programmes to deal with news of particular significance. Recent examples are those on the American astronauts and the Cuba crisis of November 1962. ITN, together with several of the programme companies, has collaborated with the GPO and the BBC in bringing Telstar transmissions to British viewers and in taking programmes to overseas viewers via Telstar.

It is the editorial policy of ITN to try to present the day’s news in a manner which is not only responsible, accurate and impartial, but which will arouse and stimulate interest in news among viewers. With this end in view, ITN has sought to exploit a particular strength of television as a news medium — its ability to let people see events for themselves rather than have them reported at second hand. By the use of news film cameras (and on occasions outside broadcast cameras) television can give people a direct picture of events as they happen. It is also possible, by interviews, to present in a very clear way the people whose actions have made news. An effect of this, incidentally, has been to make the leading men and women of our day much more directly known to the public than was possible in the past.

With that part of the news which cannot be filmed but must be read, ITN has sought to stimulate and hold interest by having the bulletins presented by men of personality. Newscasters in ITN have from the beginning not only read the news in the studio but have assisted in the editing and preparation of it. They are themselves also reporters-and interviewers. Among television figures who began their careers as ITN newscasters are Christopher Chataway, M.P., Ian Trethowan, Robin Day, Ludovic Kennedy and Huw Thomas.

Regional News Services

The rapid and widespread growth of truly regional news services has been one of Independent Television’s most important contributions to the development of television services in Britain. Every regional company has considered one of its first tasks to be the establishment of a news department to supply local news services for its own area.

Although the arrangements and plans vary according to the particular circumstances, there are many features common to all the companies’ news departments. In the first instance the emphasis is always upon news, provided by journalists working through the medium of television. Tremendous efforts, however, are made to make the journalism good television, with a widespread use of both staff and free-lance newsfilm cameramen to provide the up-to-the-minute filmed reports which are a feature of the news bulletins.

Secondly, the news is local or regional in content and interest, and to ensure this a whole army of local correspondents (or “stringers”), generally local journalists themselves, are used. Items of news are frequently “fed” into the national bulletins from regional centres if they are at the same time of wider interest, whether it be a Royal visit to Cardiff or a fire in Newcastle.

At the present time an average total of 11½ hours of local news a week is produced in studio centres in Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff, Southampton, Newcastle upon Tyne, Norwich, Dover, Bristol, Belfast, Plymouth, Carlisle, Aberdeen and St. Helier. The general practice is to broadcast the regional news immediately after the national news at 6.06 p.m., but there are a number of variations. Anglia Television, for example, incorporates its news within the magazine programme About Anglia and follows up with a regional news summary at close down; TWW provides its news in Welsh at 4.25 and in English at 6.06 while Wales (West and North) Television has its news at 6.06 in Welsh and at 6.40 in English; Channel Television concludes the day’s programmes with the news in French; Granada has reversed the usual process by having the regional headlines in its regional news magazine and the main regional bulletin shortly after 11 p.m. Southern Television opens its Day by Day magazine programme with the regional news, followed by its own meteorological report for the region.

One feature of the local news services demands special note, namely the development of detailed and up-to-the-minute weather and road reports. A number of companies have devoted much energy and expense to improving this service, which is undoubtedly of considerable value, particularly in those areas where agriculture and horticulture form an important part of the economy.

Regional Magazine Programmes

It is a matter of some debate within Independent Television as to where the regional magazine programmes actually began. From the earliest days, weekly or more frequent news magazine programmes have been provided by several programme companies. However, the first regular daily programme, in the early evening, was produced by Ulster Television, whose Roundabout began in October 1959 when the company first began its transmissions and continued its run until December 1962 when its successor, Newsview, took over. The formula has had remarkable success over the entire country, and every region now has its own magazine programme.

Dateline — which was mentioned above — and On the Braden Beat, a new type of magazine with a gently satirical twist, are the only two news magazines to be networked and neither is taken by all the companies. The majority are transmitted in the early part of the evening; they vary in length between 5 and 45 minutes. But all have in common the fact that they are concerned with news of local interest.

National News
Programme Description Company Mins. Time & Day Distribution
Weekdays Evening news ITN 11 5.55 Mon-Fri Network
Main news ITN 15 9.00 Mon-Fri Network
Late news ITN 02 Late Mon-Fri Network
Saturdays Four bulletins ITN 05 1.15, 5.45 Sat Network
10 9.00 Sat Network
05 11.50 Sat Part Network
Sundays Three bulletins ITN 10 6.05, 9.25 Sun Network
03 7.25 Sun Network
Local News
Programme Description Company Mins. Time & Day Distribution
London Weekend Local news ITN/A-R 7 6.08 Fri Local
Midlands News Local news ATV 6-15 6.05 Mon-Fri Local
Northern Newscast Local news Granada 8 Late Mon-Fri Local
Scottish News Local news Scottish 5 1.30 Mon-Fri Local
North-East News Local news Tyne Tees 5 1.42 Tues-Fri Local
Ulster News Local news Ulster 5 6.06 Mon-Fri Local
TWW Reports Local news TWW 7 6.06 Mon-Fri Local
Southern News Local news Southern 8 6.06 Mon-Fri Local
North-East News Local news Tyne Tees 9 6.06 Mon-Fri Local
Ulster News Local news Ulster 1 6.06 Mon-Fri Local
Westward News Local news Westward 9 6.06 Mon-Fri Local
Border News Local news Border 9-14 6.06 Mon-Fri Local
Grampian News Local news Grampian 4 6.06 Mon-Fri Local
Local News Inclg. weather Channel 9 6.06 Mon-Fri Local
News of Wales Inclg. weather Wales (W. & N.) 10 6.40 Mon-Fri Local
Anglia News Headlines and weather Anglia 3 Late Mon-Fri Local
Local News Local news Wales (W. & N.) 10 8.50 Wed, Fri Local
Local News Inclg. weather Channel 5 Late Sat, Sun Local
French News News in French Channel 5 Pre-close, daily Local
Border News Summary Local news and weather Border 3 Pre-close, Mon-Fri Local
Weather A-R 2 6.06 Mon-Fri Local
Weather ATV 1 Late, all week Local
Weather Anglia 1-3 Evening & late Local
Grampian Weather and Road Report Weather and road report Grampian 1-2 5.54 and pre-close Local
Weather TWW 1 Pre-close Local
Weather Channel 1 Pre-close Local
Farming Prices Border 5 Mon-Fri Local
News Magazines
Programme Description Company Mins. Time & Day Distribution
Midland Montage News magazine ATV 25 6.30 Tues Local
Dateline News magazine ITN/A-R 10 Late evening Part Network
On the Braden Beat News magazine ATV 20 10.55 Sat Part Network
30 11.00 Sat Local
Scene at 6.30 News magazine Granada 30 6.30 Mon-Fri Local
Here and Now Including local news Scottish 25 6.06 Mon-Wed, Fri Local
About Anglia Including local news Anglia 40-55 6.06 Mon-Fri Local
Day by Day News magazine Southern 26-31 6.14 Mon-Fri Local
North-East Roundabout News magazine Tyne Tees 15 6.15 Mon-Fri Local
Westward Diary News magazine Westward 30-45 6.15 Mon, Wed, Fri Local
Newsview News magazine Ulster 35 6.25 Mon, Fri Local
Here Today News magazine TWW 17 6.43 Mon-Fri Local
Focus News magazine Border 30 6.15 Tues, Thurs Local
Studio Tuesday News magazine Channel 30 10.45 Tues Local
Border Diary News magazine Border 5 8.55 Wed Local
Town and Country Review News magazine Anglia 30 10.45 Wed Local
ABC at Large Inclg. news ABC 50 11.00 Sat Local
Dateline Scotland News magazine Scottish 30 6.30 Fri Local
Eye on Wales News magazine Wales (W. & N.) 30 5.00 alt Sun Local
Postscript News magazine Westward 20 5.20 Sun Local
Grampian Week News magazine Grampian 35 6.10 Fri Local
Studio Friday News magazine Channel 30 8.00 Fri Local
Flashback News review Ulster 30 10.15 Fri Local
In the News News review TWW 30 10.15 Fri Local