This report presents a broad and detailed analysis of the impact of the press on the City of Liverpool and analyses developments in the repositioning of Liverpool as a ‘world class’ city in the context of its nomination as European Capital of Culture (ECoC).
The report covers UK national press coverage that refers to Liverpool in the years, 1996 (before the bid process), 2003 (the bid and nomination) and 2005 (event preparations).
The analysis of UK national press coverage about Liverpool in the years 1996, 2003 and 2005 offers a first indication of the impacts of bidding and winning the ECoC title on external representations of the city. These three time periods are relevant because they allow us to compare press references to Liverpool across time: that is, several years before the decision to bid, during the actual bid process and nomination, and in an interim year (post-nomination but well before the actual event in 2008). Subsequent analysis will look into local (city-based) and regional press representations.
The main thematic trends emerging from this retrospective analysis are as follows:
- National coverage referring to Liverpool is overwhelmingly dominated by sport and, particularly, football (up to 80% coverage). Football stories have been excluded from this analysis to allow a more in-depth understanding of other thematic trends. In future reporting, we will analyse a selection of football/sport stories presented in the context of the ECoC or Liverpool 08 specifically;
- Most national references to Liverpool are presented in the context of crime, drugs and violence stories (19.5%), which are the main sources of negative perceptions of the city;
- Since the ECoC nomination, there has been a continuous growth of stories about culture and the arts, particularly, galleries and visual arts (17%). This is the main source of positive perceptions. Coverage on the city’s music scene is also growing but is not directly associated with ECoC;
- The third most common area of coverage relates to economic issues (14%).