Case Studies

High Speed Two (HS2)

HS2 – Using media analysis to assess both national and regional media coverage

High Speed Two (HS2) is the company responsible for developing and promoting the UK’s new high-speed rail link, one of the biggest transport projects in Europe. HS2 will initially link the cities of London and Birmingham and stage two will extend the high-speed rail route to North West England and Yorkshire.

Challenge

HS2’s objective was to improve its understanding of public perception through analysing the style and tone of media coverage in key regional areas on the route. Specifically it wanted to focus on those regions where the project would have most impact.

Cloud Media Insight undertook a granular analysis of press articles surrounding the controversial project, which would prove valuable in informing the press office and stakeholders of the project.

Solution

We gathered traditional (print) media coverage and analysed these clippings based on a number of set variables which included the tone of the coverage, the tone of the comments being made about HS2 and HS2’s own message penetration.

We also identified the key advocates and detractors of the project and their prominence within the clippings.

Results

Our analysis proved to be a useful tool for HS2 in cutting through the noise of the media coverage.

Importantly we were able to identify key differences between the national media and regional media articles in the specific areas most affected by the project.

We found that nationally the media were generally more negative, although the arguments within the pieces weren’t strongly made. In contrast, the regional press were more positive and with more strongly made arguments. This was not only true in the West Midlands, the region set to benefit most from the project, but also in the North East, where there is a desire to be involved and the region is keen to benefit from the improved infrastructure which HS2 could bring.

Through using our services, HS2 were able to see that although media coverage may have been perceived as negative on a national level, this was an over-generalisation. It proved the value in conducting in-depth media analysis, especially with such a large-scale, controversial project.