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.
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