ITV Meridian covers the South and South-East of England, taking in the counties of Kent, East and West Sussex, Hampshire, and parts of Dorset, Berkshire, Wiltshire and Essex. For news, the region is split into three separate sub-regions Meridian South-East, Meridian South and Meridian West. Each sub-region has its own dedicated edition of the news programme Meridian Tonight and news bulletins. In December 2006, Meridian West and an area of ITV Central, Central South, merged to form a new sub-region to broadcast Thames Valley Tonight
ITV's Big Clean-Up
All of ITV Meridian's three sub-regions threw themselves wholeheartedly into ITV's Big Clean-Up , the campaign which aimed to raise awareness of environmental issues, both global and local. A half-hour programme (a co-production with ITV West and ITV Westcountry) launched the initiative, and following that each edition of the news programme Meridian Tonight continued the theme with reports throughout the summer. The subject matter was wide and varied, and included: keeping Stonehenge tidy, green graffiti, eco-building, how to compost just about anything, making music from rubbish with the dance troupe Stomp, and clearing up after the WOMAD festival. On ITV's Big Clean-Up Day, Sunday 17 September, more than 400 volunteers took part in six events to improve areas of the ITV Meridian region. These included representatives from businesses such as HM Customs and Excise, American Express and Newsquest recruite d through our partner BITC. And two projects were co-ordinated by CSV and the youth volunteering charity v .
The People's Millions
Meridian Tonight (South) Regional Editor, Guy Phillips, played a key role in representing the interests of ITV News in discussions with the Big Lottery Fund and co-ordinating coverage around the country of this year's People's Millions campaign. Across the ITV Meridian region a total of 13 community projects received grants through the initiative.
ITV Meridian played its part in the major ITV campaign to raise awareness of endangered species worldwide, and to pledge money to help save eight of those under threat. A half-hour regional programme dedicated to the ITV Meridian region launched Extinct by highlighting conservation projects across the South and South-East. This was followed by reports within all three sub-regions of Meridian Tonight , leading viewers to the networked week of programming.
Save Yourself a Fortune
ITV Meridian was one of three ITV regions to run the campaign Save Yourself A Fortune. The strand of features was funded and produced by the Public Service Broadcasting Trust, and addressed the issue of financial literacy. All three of ITV Meridian's sub-regional editions of Meridian Tonight broadcast a week of features showing how a family can substantially cut their household bills. Off-air, the campaign offered viewers the chance to undertake free financial literacy courses across the region, as well as detailed information on how to save money.
As well as participating in the major campaigns highlighted above, ITV Meridian's flagship news programme Meridian Tonight broadcast several other feature strands or items highlighting issues of concern. Examples include:
- Carers a series of items across all three sub-regions featuring people who dedicate their lives to caring for others.
- Donors Week encouraging viewers to join the donor register
- Dirty Hospitals Meridian Tonight (South-East) highlighted the campaign to persuade the NHS to buy better cleaning agents to prevent the spread of superbugs'
- Farepak collapse as the Christmas hamper company had links with all three Meridian regions, its downfall was covered comprehensively and reports gave advice on how those affected could recover their money
- Water Watch much of the South-East was affected by drought during 2006. This strand of features took a detailed look at why the problems had occurred and suggested ways of conserving water
- A&E departments Meridian Tonight (South) joined the campaign to save vital A&E departments in Sussex hospitals and won praise for its coverage of the story
- Transport special correspondent Mike Pearse presented a series of features about the transport problems facing the region's population, including road charging plans, rail fare increases, and the growth of regional airports
- Checkout the regular consumer strand returned
- Home From Home a series tracing the family histories of people who have come to the Meridian region from different parts of the world and enriched the cultural life of the South
- Under The Skin a series which looked at the lives of some minority communities in the region, including Sikhs in the Medway towns, Jews in Sussex and Muslims in Essex
- Black History Month Meridian Tonight (South) was praised by community leaders for its coverage of celebrations in Southampton
- Oxford Children's Hospital during its first month, Thames Valley Tonight ran a series of features about this new hospital
ITV Meridian's long-running current affairs strand Focus broadcast several programmes raising social issues during 2006. These included:
- Make Me British following the progress of a Bosnian family in Portsmouth applying to become British citizens
- Wake Up! which looked at the dangers posed by young people who drive while high on drugs
- School's Out highlighting the growing number of parents educating their children at home with no reference to the education authority
- A Click Away about the dangers of internet fraud
- A Certain Age by choosing to have children later, older mothers are putting pressure on their own health and on the health service
In addition, ITV Meridian's political programme Meridian Late (renamed The Last Word from the autumn) focussed on events at Westminster, at the party conferences and in Europe, and how they reflect on life in the South and South-East. Other non-news programmes, such as Country Ways , River Walks and Monkey Business , celebrate the heritage and lifestyle of the region, and encourage tourism.
Throughout 2006, ITV Meridian continued to pilot ITV Local, a new ITV service delivered by broadband and designed especially to be community television'. It carries local news, weather and features, provides a showcase for local bands and filmmakers, and allows community groups and charities to upload their own material. Through being able to cross promote ITV Local on Meridian Tonight , and by word of mouth, the service has grown steadily since its launch in October 2005, and ITV has recently confirm the roll-out of ITV Local around the country.
ITV Meridian supports a great many regional charities and regional community initiatives, chiefly through providing the services of a presenter or reporter as host, by offering visits to the studios as raffle or auction prizes, and through senior executives sitting on advisory panels. Events we have supported in 2006 include: Solent Skillquest, Adult Learners, Common Purpose, Sussex Business Awards, Kent Business Awards, Lifesavers (South-East), Hampshire Food & Drink Awards, Asthma Allergy Information Research, Hampshire Fire & Rescue, and many more.
More information on CR at ITV Meridian is available at: www.itvregions.com/meridian