Is the British media failing to represent Northern life?

Image: tellyaddict (Wikimedia Commons)

One task that occupies many is the need for more diversity in the media. A need to promote inclusiveness and show a vision of the world separate from an all-white-male-heterosexual society. And although this focus has been successful to some extent, with increases in the amount of LGBT+ representation and a higher inclusion of women, it seems the media is still lacking. Whether it be newspapers, television or the radio, there is a focus and centralisation on the South, primarily London. A South versus North battle has emerged with London being on top, marginalising the North and all it embodies.

Take the news as an example: we always hear about the crime and action occurring in London to the extent I find myself knowing about every minuscule detail of London life. Yet, when it comes to the North: nothing. Tragic shooting in London: CENTRAL NEWS. Tragic shooting in Newcastle: what? Where did you hear that? It wasn’t on the news. It is about time we turn the tables and have the media focus on the North. Maybe it’ll brighten up the lives of Londoners to be exposed to something other than themselves for once.

It is about time we turn the tables and have the media focus on the North. Maybe it’ll brighten up the lives of Londoners to be exposed to something other than themselves for once

There is also the problem of the radio. Despite the recent movement of the BBC to the North which previously was not the case, the radio is still filled with London broadcasters, telling the latest news in their sophisticated, refined accents. Because of this, Northerners are now starting to accommodate to these views, converging their accents to sound more like Southerners so as to ‘fit in’ with the image of what the media hopes to cast. As a Northerner myself, I find this just disrespectful. Since when was my accent not enough?

And of course, things are starting to get better, particularly regarding television and shows such as Coronation Street and Cold Feet where the North of England, particularly Manchester, gets its moment of fame. However, despite this, closer examination of some television shows situated in the North show that this representation is not always a good one. Shameless, for example, although humorous and charming portrays Northerners to be lazy, reckless and the deadbeats of society. Okay, this might be exactly what the producers intended for the show in order to produce comedy but it has its problems too: one being that this image becomes a stereotype for all Northerners with everyone assuming we are all like this and nothing more. As much as comedic Northerners are entertaining, where are the serious portrayals? Why can’t Northerners be seen as serious as Londoners?

As much as comedic Northerners are entertaining, where are the serious portrayals?

And when did the South become superior?

What the media needs is a departure from classy old London and a focus on the North. Give me a true Brummie accent on the news; a story centralised on the North in the newspaper; a show that depicts us Northerners to be just as sophisticated as those dwelling in the South. Media, give me the North.

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