The following is a complaint lodged with the BBC following the January 30th edition of tea-time Reporting Scotland. The programme featured a story on Brexit that was placed fifth in the order of prioritu that evening.
Full complaint submitted January 31st
On January 30th the 18:30 edition of Reporting Scotland covered a story that had broken earlier that day. The story centred around an alleged leak of UK Government analysis that showed any Brexit deal would harm the UK economy.
The story, despite being the biggest story that day, found itself placed only fifth on the flagship evening news programme. As can be seen from the clip below, stories deemed of greater significance included a pay offer to Scottish Firemen, Freedom of Information requests submitted to the Scottish NHS by BBC Scotland, Scottish Labour party suspension and calls by Unionist MSPs for Michael Matheson to resign.
The placement of the Brexit related story was not in keeping with its significance. All four of the stories deemed more newsworthy paled in comparison with the leak. Indeed at least one of them [Calls for Michael Matheson to resign] was a near repeat of a story that led Reporting Scotland two days earlier. See below.
The Brexit analysis leak should have been given a higher priority than fifth place on the programme. More so given that the First Minister issued an official statement following the revelation.
This complaint may seem vexatious given it relates to the placement of one story on one programme. However it should be noted that an earlier complaint submitted by myself, and yet to be addressed, highlighted a similar pattern over several months on this edition of Reporting Scotland.
A look at Brexit related items from August through to October 20th shows a very worrying trend. A Brexit related story led Reporting Scotland on just six occasions. Meanwhile Brexit related stories were placed fifth or more in the running order or ignored completely a total of twenty times. The worst of the ‘ignored’ stories was a speech given by the First Minister in Dublin on October 8th in which she focused on Brexit.
Response from the editor of Reporting Scotland received February 12th
Thank you for being in touch about the teatime edition on 30th January. I have looked again at this programme and am confident that it was fully in accord with the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines.
Together, Nick Eardley’s report on Reporting Scotland and John Pienaar’s on Network News provided comprehensive coverage from both a UK and a Scottish perspective; but had you watched only Nick’s report you would have seen a comprehensive explanation of the leaked document and parliamentary reactions from both Holyrood and Westminster.
Thank you again for your interest in our output.