Newswatch Scotland … monitoring BBC Scotland

By Alan Knight

Just over two months ago I launched an appeal to raise £2500 to fund a pilot project that aimed to monitor BBC Scotland political output.  What prompted my decision was a quite shocking piece of reporting by BBC Scotland.  The clip below might jog your memory.


BBC Scotland had been breathlessly pushing the recession line for days.  Official figures burst their bubble.  Not only had Scotland’s economy grown, it had grown faster than the rest of the UK.

My appeal reached seventy per cent of its target within the first day.  It surpassed its target within a week.  The pilot was scheduled to begin in September.  The success of the appeal allowed myself and others to begin work on the pilot a month earlier than planned … we have captured important stories we’d otherwise have missed.


The provisional plan was to record and monitor every 18:30 edition of Reporting Scotland together with weekday and weekend editions of Politics Scotland.  Monitoring would take the form of a dry ‘academic’ analysis of the political content of each programme.  The analysis for each programme would be published on this site weekly.

Accompanying this analysis was planned a video programme which would cover selected political issues.  The video would examine the presentation of those issues by BBC Scotland.

As with all pilot projects, plans change and evolve.  It hasn’t been possible to include editions of Politics Scotland in the analysis.  However we have developed a system that allows the monitoring and analysis of every edition of Reporting Scotland.  The first of the scheduled weekly articles was published on Sunday and covered the week ending Saturday September 9th.


By far the more challenging component of the pilot has been the video programme.  It’s taken a considerable effort on the part of our small team, some of whom are unpaid volunteers.  We have carried out intensive research, script writing, filming, producing and editing.  I’m happy to report that the first video will be released this weekend.

I’m not going to say what the video will cover … you’ll just have to wait and see.  Safe to say it looks at one of the biggest political stories in August and highlights some highly dubious practices by Reporting Scotland.  There are more videos in the pipeline, all looking at different issues.

By way of a teaser and a glimpse into the quality of the production, the opening titles of the video series – to be called ‘Newswatch Scotland’ – is shown below.

The video aspect of the monitoring and the written weekly analysis have now been uncoupled.  The idea is for the weekly analysis to essentially self-fund itself by means of a PayPal donate button at the end of each article.  GA Ponsonby has agreed to administer the written analysis and has already secured the services of a freelance journalist.

The video segment of the project is much more labour intensive and requires more by way of specialist input.  We hope to continue this aspect of the project for at least another month and will be launching another small appeal shortly.  The success of the appeal will of course depend on reaction to the pilot ‘Newswatch Scotland’ videos.

So to repeat.  The first of the ‘Newswatch Scotland’ videos will be released this weekend.  Check the @IndyrefTwo twitter feed for the exact date and time.  A second will follow within seven days.

In the meantime you can show faith in the project by making a donation using the PayPal button below.  Remember, this donation will fund the video series alone.  Any funds will allow us to continue knowing costs are covered.

Oh, if you want to tweet about the project, the hashtag is #NewswatchScotland.

Thanks guys.

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5 thoughts on “Newswatch Scotland … monitoring BBC Scotland

  1. KennyM

    I mean it when I say that I’ve no doubt that this work will be informative and illuminating, that is, to those who don’t already know all about reporting scotland’s role as one of the central planks of british nationalist propaganda in Scotland.

    My problem with this is that these are the very people who will never see or hear anything about it. I fear that this project and its results will bask in almost total obscurity, at least as far as outside of the yes bubble is concerned.

    Getting this information out to the public, to the offline and otherwise unengaged soft no’s and undecideds who will be the ones who decide our and Scotland’s future is the only thing that really matters here, otherwise what’s the point?

    1. Robert Graham

      Well a very encouraging comment ,
      I dont believe its costing you personally any time or money

      The bubble as you call it , is the same for all indy supporting sites , access is restricted by the media having 99.99% of the output , Therefore the need for indy supporting sites

      BY your comment you would have no one do anything because it is inside the bubble , so why bother , just give up , accept thats the way things are and it will never change .

      The same with independence why bother it’s always been this way , what a depressing comment designed to install total apathy and moral sapping inactivity .It’s always been this way , christ what a vision of hope you are .

    2. alanski

      Kenny, appreciate your point, you’re right. However, my film ‘London Calling’ has had over 83,000 hits alone on YouTube, and with all the other channels and screenings, DVD’s etc, we have made progress in penetration. We hope we can do the same with this project, but it’s also up to others to spread the information. Many people are now aware of the BBC propaganda, so there is grounds for optimism and exposing them more often to more of the general public. Thanks.

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