There Is an Urgent Need To Introduce an Independent BBC Authority To Investigate & Decide The Outcome Of Level 2 Complaints The BBC Should Not Be Investigating Themselves

BBC Scotland, Pacific Quay, Glasgow

1. April 16 2012; BBC presentations lead news website to question impartiality of BBC presenters around Scottish Independence

a. A Scottish news website is carrying videos that have been released on YouTube which it claims …“have appeared to cast significant doubt on the willingness and ability of the BBC to cover the [Scottish] independence referendum in an impartial manner”.

b. The leaked videos feature in-house presentations by four senior BBC presenters giving explanatory background briefings on the referendum question.

c. Newsnet Scotland says the target of the videos … “is believed to be an audience of junior BBC staff.”

d. Newsnet Scotland, which admits strong nationalist leanings is part of its editorial policy and seeks full fiscal autonomy or independence, alleges: “The presenters, including BBC Scotland’s political editor Brian Taylor, are shown attacking the fairness of the SNP’s proposed referendum question and claiming that Alex Salmond is ‘not impregnable’.

e. “The First Minister is also accused of wanting a devo-max option on the ballot paper in order to give him a ‘parachute’ should Scots fail to back independence.

f. “In the presentations, Scotland is described as being in financial deficit and requiring subsidy. Claims are also made that the SNP are ‘changing policy in order not to frighten the horses’.

g. “Brian Taylor is shown claiming that Alex Salmond wants to delay the referendum in order to ‘sow dissent’ amongst Unionist parties, and says: ‘He [Salmond] wants a contest as close as possible to the next UK general election because he believes that by then his Unionist opponents will be fighting each other rather than fighting independence and Alex Salmond. He wants to sow dissent among them’.

h. “Mr Taylor also claimed that the Scottish government’s proposed referendum question was not straightforward and simple. The BBC Scotland man suggested it was designed to elicit a positive response.

i. “On the proposed question: ‘Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?’ Mr Taylor says: ‘Straightforward, simple – except it’s not.

bbc newsroom

j. “’The word ‘agree’ according to psephologists is a welcoming word, it draws people in. People like to agree, they don’t like to disagree so the word there is good.”

k. “Mr Taylor added: ‘Why does Alex Salmond favour a second question, devo max, and devo plus, why not just go for independence, which is the one he has the mandate for?

l. “’He wants a fall-back, he wants a parachute should independence fail to win’.”

m. Also featured on the videos is BBC TV political commentator, Andrew Neil, a former editor of The Scotsman and the Sunday Times, BBC TV’s UK political editor, Nick Robinson, and BBC TV’s economics editor, Stephanie Flande

n. presentations from senior BBC presenters on the independence referendum debate. Some views expressed call into question the ability of the BBC to provide impartial coverage.



a. Now we are in to 2014 if proof be needed, read Newsnet Scotland articles on BBC bias against Scottish Independence.

b. How can we find out who ordered this presentation to be made in the first place and were Taylor,Neil et al given direction on the content ? Furthermore, who was in the audience listening to this ‘propaganda’ and are they now responsible for the production, editing and presentation of programmes we are now watching ?

c. The BBC says they are even handed this proves otherwise.

d. I find this to be genuinely disturbing. If you have any doubt that the staff of the BBC are past-masters in deception and double-speak watch this video and learn! The sole message of the seminar, never openly expressed, is “Scottish nationalists are our enemies. This is how we will misrepresent them.”

e. I am delighted that this is being picked up by the wider media community, having found this and other material including the Andrew Neil briefing while searching for BBC footage on other issues, I was struck by the impression that this event was nothing short of a Ministry of Propaganda meeting to discuss the State TV strategy to be adopted in the run up to Scotland’s vote.

f. Brian Taylor isn’t anti-Scottish, he’s just really dependent on the union. Neil is an exiled Scot with little ties to Scotland. He supports the union so that he can keep pretending London is the same country as Scotland. The current settlement works for him and he wants to retain it for personal reasons. They’re not anti-Scottish, but they are selfish. They want to use their positions to push the vote in they’re favour and the problem is that they are part of the BBC and meant to be Un-biased.

g. the usual BBC propoganda and scots sellouts trying to save thiere High salary low effort jobs. when we win our freedom I hope the new Scottish Broadcasting Corp sacks every one These guys are really worried about their jobs aren’t they?

h. Interesting that most of the facts here a positive for an Independent Scotland, the econemy for example. Almost like ok guys how do we make all this stuff look bad. Also the UK can’t exist with the KINGDOM of Scotland. Wales and Ireland (Northern) didn’t join the UK they where already part of the Kingdom of England.

Buchanan Street in central Glasgow

i. Where is the part where they tell the audience of journalists from the BBC how to be impartial when dealing with the facts? I must have missed that bit. He does get it spot on but totally wrong on other points, Can you imagine some of the other meetings which take place well behind closed doors.

j. The “How to Stop the Scots” seminar.

k. The BBC shows its true red white and blue colours and its inablity to provide the impartial reporting its own charter declares is its foundation principle. Basically when it comes to anything anti British establishment the BBC are full of shite.

l. At 30:00 a really key admission. For UK it’s a ‘deficit’ (which nearly all countries big and small are dealing with), however.. For Scotland it’s a ‘subsidy’ (which we generously recieve from London- even though the English are sick of paying it). Ladies and gentlemen of the BBC, there’s yer bias.

m. Nobody said: ‘ok guys how do we make all this stuff look bad’. But we all know that the questions posed will have to be answered. Or are pro-independence voters happy to ignore the unknowns? I think not.

n. What I want to know is, who attended this presentation? Are we now to assume that all BBC presenters, producers & editorial staff will follow the lead of Brian Taylor & Andrew Neil?

o. The BBC Trust have just censored Newsnight Scotland over their report on the Irish Minister’s views over EU membership after NS refused to investigate the issue of malpractise.

p. Has Newsnight Scotland received an apology from Ian Davidson after his totally unfounded claims when he accused them of bias live on air? This video clip is proof that Davidson was wrong in his accusations and until an apology is forthcoming he should be excluded from any further BBC programmes. 


q. ‘Westminster is being nice to Scotland, but if we leave the Union, that’s when the gloves come off’ What is England going to do, invade us?

r. Andrew Neil has been Westminster based since the 80’s, he probably won’t even be eligible to vote ( assuming he doesn’t have a well used Scottish residence). Remember, we pay for this ex Rupert Murdoch mouthpiece and his oversized friend.

s.Hey if Scotland isn’t a successor state to the UK we don’t have to inherit their debt. Yay for us.

t. They close down comments perhaps to conceal the real tenor of public opinion. Perhaps the upcoming vote is going to be jiggered with fake votes. In Quebec in 1995, our unconstitutional and illegal referendum was NOT about “secession” or “independence” but was an attempt to blackmail Canadians into accepting the EU system for ALL of Canada, as the basis of North American Union. Some quarter million FAKE citizenship ID’s were created in the half-decade prior: 217,000+ people ALL now UNTRACEABLE.

u. “BBC Scotland has decided to correct the errors contained in an online article it published on Saturday,Fully two days after one of the most blatant pieces of politically motivated articles ever published by the state broadcaster appeared as the number one story in Scotland, the corporation quietly removed the offending fiction and replaced it with fact..” comment on how the BBC used headlines claiming the Deputy F.M made statements when she did not say anything that the headlines claimed

v. My response to this… I’m not paying your license tax for this pravda shite! Stick your BBC up your backside! As for Andrew Neil…

w. I’m not sure whether to like this, ’cause it shows how biased the BBC is, or dislike it, because of the content.

x. Brian Taylor gets paid too much by the BBC and he spends his wages on steaks and chips. What a waste of our TV license fee!

y. BBC Scotland’s online department are coming under increasing pressure to explain their decision to suspend comments from political blogs.Alone amongst BBC broadcast regions, the blogs of veteran editor Brian Taylor and Douglas Fraser have been closed down to comments from the general public for months, media watchdog programme ‘Newswatch’ highlighted the decision to remove the comment facility from the Scottish online blogs Youtube search “Newswatch exposes BBC Scotland censorship.avi ”

z. The Union of the UK is between two countries Scotland and England, Scotland leaving ends that UK and it creates two new states If Scotland has to E.U re-apply then so must England/rUK. Shengen and the Euro are not preconditions of membership E.U law states both are members now and will continue to be Neil lies on this and this video shows the BBC Bias not just as an institution but individual presenters and the reveal a group mindset that is almost overwhelmingly Unionist in its logic and conclusions.


3. June 14 2014; BBC Scotland facing questions for allowing pro-union Better Together group to use crew and film ad at Glasgow HQ

a. BBC Scotland is facing claims that it breached its editorial and commercial guidelines by allow pro-union campaign group Better Together to use the broadcaster’s Glasgow HQ and an in-house crew to film a cinema ad.

b. The BBC has denied there was any breach of its guidelines and said that political parties can use facilities on a commercial basis, but concerns have been raised by former BBC broadcaster Derek Batemen that the BBC is operating in a “grey zone”.

c. Better Together commissioned creative agency BD Network to make the ad, The Scotsman newspaper reported. The agency sub-contracted work to production firm Early, which the Scotsman reports was co-founded by former executive producer at BBC Entertainment Martyn Smith.

d. The advert was shown in cinemas last month, but cinema chains including Odeon, Cineworld and Vue later decided to ban all referendum advertising from outlets.

e. BBC guidelines state: “Any activity involving a third party that could potentially undermine the BBC’s editorial integrity must be referred, in advance to the editorial policy department. Examples of such organisations include: political parties, government departments and foreign government; lobbying organisations…”

f. Guidelines also state that the “value and reputation of the BBC brand may be damaged if any part of the BBC is seen to be associated with inappropriate third parties”.

g. The revelations will fuel speculation over the state broadcaster’s impartiality in Scotland ahead of the independence referendum. BBC Scotland was forced to defend its position earlier this year after a report from academic Professor John Robertson suggested that coverage had been damaging to the Yes campaign.


4. June 29 2014; Over 2000 people attend a peaceful demonstration against BBC anti-independence bias.

a. Hundreds of people gathered outside BBC Scotland’s Pacific Quay headquarters in Glasgow at the weekend for a demonstration highlighting alleged ‘BBC bias’ in Scottish independence referendum coverage favouring the No campaign.

b. The protest shone a spotlight on claims of bias that have spiralled since the publication at the beginning of the year of research by University of the West of Scotland media politics professor John Robertson, which showed an apparent pro-No weight in broadcast coverage in Scotland ahead of the referendum.

c. According to Professor Robertson’s research, between September 2012 and September 2013, BBC Scotland broadcast 272 news items considered favourable for the No campaign against 171 favourable to Yes. The study also found that statements which made use of academic, scientific or independent evidence favoured the No campaign on 22 occasions compared to four for the Yes side.

d. Furthermore, the research claimed BBC Scotland had finished broadcasts with unchallenged anti-independence claims 28 times, while unchallenged pro-Yes statements came at the end of a broadcast only eight times.

e. The research showed a similar alleged bias in broadcast reports from STV, although critics’ anger has been directed largely towards the taxpayer funded BBC.

f. According to Scottish politics website Newsnet Scotland, people travelled from as far afield as Shetland to attend the protest. The BBC cited Police Scotland as saying there was a “maximum of 350 protesters” at the event, although video footage and images appear to show a larger crowd. Organisers quoted a figure closer to 2,000.


5. June 30 2014; I was bullied by BBC over academic report on indyref bias – the Scottish media blackout must end

a. Professor John Robertson, media politics professor at the University of the West of Scotland and author of an academic study that claimed Scottish news broadcasts leaned more favourably towards the No campaign on Scottish independence, recounts the aftermath of his report and the implications for Scottish democracy.

b. When I published academic research at the beginning of the year examining the impartiality of broadcast news reporting ahead of the Scottish independence referendum, I didn’t expect one of the subjects of my report – BBC Scotland, no less – to take such a strong reaction to the findings..

c. Senior BBC figures reported me to senior staff at my university and colleagues of mine were even warned to ‘stay away’ from me. I see this as a clear form of bullying by a powerful corporation. The great crime I’d committed was in publishing the results of a study which indicated that BBC Scotland’s coverage of the Scottish independence referendum between September 2012 and September 2013 noticeably favoured the No campaign.

d. The Fairness in the First Year? Study was a year-long content analysis using fairly objective measures of fairness and balance to assess mainstream TV coverage of the Scottish independence referendum. The imbalance the research identified was more marked in the BBC/Reporting Scotland coverage than in the ITV/STV coverage, although both broadcasters fell significantly more towards favourable coverage for No than Yes statements.

e. The study found that, overall, there was a greater total number of ‘No statements’ compared to Yes; a tendency for expert advice against independence to be more common; a tendency for reports to begin and end with statements favouring the No campaign; and a very strong pattern of associating the Yes campaign arguments and evidence with the personal wishes of Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond. Taken together, the coverage was considered to be more favourable for the No campaign.

f. Though absent in mainstream media reporting, the research received massive interest online, especially – and somewhat predictably – in Yes campaign blogs. Newsnet Scotland reported 10,000 hits on the day it reported the findings, and I received more than 100 personal emails of support.

g. One email I hadn’t been expecting came directly from BBC Scotland’s head of policy and corporate affairs on 21 January 2014. He expressed serious concerns about the methodology, accuracy and language used in the report, and felt so strongly that he by-passed my head of school and dean of faculty and went straight to the university principal.

h. What triggered the head of policy and corporate affairs to write in such aggressive terms and to report me to my own employer over an academic study has never been explained to me, but needless to say I have received full support at all levels on my academic right to ask questions of power.

i. The first study prompted the commissioning of a second. Pro-independence website Newsnet Scotland crowdsourced enough funds to sponsor a study into the impartiality of BBC Radio Scotland’s flagship politics show, Good Morning Scotland. The research was carried out by staff in the Creative Futures Research Institute at the University of the West of Scotland in Ayr, and it again indicated a problem in the balance of news reporting.

j. The broadcasts were balanced in crude, numerical terms, but in every other aspect were unfair to the Yes campaign and sat more favourably towards Better Together. Broadcasts began too often with bad news for Yes and featured heavy repetition of such messages over several hours in a manner conducive to unconscious absorption of warnings.


k. Statements from the Yes perspective were often reactive while those favouring Better Together were commonly initiating. Interviewers tended, too often, to adopt aggressive techniques with Yes supporters while only doing so on two recorded occasions with Better Together supporters.

l. Finally, in the selection and use of expert witness of dubious credibility and of evidence from partisan sources, the broadcasts were clearly unfair to the Yes campaign.

m. With only months to go until the independence referendum, the BBC clearly needs a system of monitoring and balancing its content to limit the admittedly unavoidable intrusion of bias to a minimum. It is worrying that research of this kind is required in a democracy, and it is similarly worrying that this report has been largely ignored by the BBC and mainstream media.

n. I fear we have witnessed the collusion of broadsheet, radio and TV journalists in their refusal to criticise each other’s ethical behaviour. Until this point, I naively though Scotland was rather more equipped to expose elite collusions.

o. As for the BBC, the private attempts to quieten this research and their public policy of ignoring it are at odds. Indeed, when I was summoned in March to give evidence to the Scottish parliament’s education and culture committee on broadcasting, the BBC remained silent despite being present at the committee and attempts by callers and audience members to raise ‘the UWS study’.

p. The BBC’s contradictory behaviour has helped fuel the eruption of protests outside BBC Scotland’s Glasgow headquarters, but whether public distrust is enough to force the introduction of balance checks in time for the independence referendum remains to be seen.

q. Professor John Robertson has taught and researched in higher education for 30 years. He is especially interested in the relationship between media and other elites and in Western coverage of conflict in the Middle East and Central Asia. His interest in mainstream media coverage of the Scottish independence referendum began in 2012.


6. September 11 2014; Conference attended primarily by foreign journalists hijacked by Nick Robinson

a. Nick Robinson BBC reporter was provided with fully comprehensive answers to a number of rambling questions by an always patient Alex Salmond. Robinson acknowledges answers by nodding his head in agreement at the end. Video length 6 mins 52 seconds.

7. September 11 2014; Same conference different approach by “Better Together supporting media” – Alex Salmond goes to war with BBC over RBS ‘leak’

a. Daily Telegraph article accompanied by a heavily edited video, (2 min 02 secs). An irate Alex Salmond today declared war on the BBC after the Corporation disclosed Royal Bank of Scotland’s decision to move its headquarters to England if there is a Yes vote. The First Minster accuses Nick Robinson of heckling him and demands the Corporation cooperate with a leaks inquiry over RBS’s announcement.


8. September 11 2014; Same conference Robinson’s take on events – BBC bias and propaganda at it’s finest

a. Nick Robinson caught Lying about Alex Salmond not answering a question


a. You made a bit of a boob by editing out Alex Salmond inviting Nick to ask a question in the first place, then going on to fully answer his question. You just gave idiots the opportunity to say “he didn’t answer his question”. No matter, people can see in other videos that he answered it, and answered it very comprehensively. Nick is just another Government lickspittle, the people of Scotland however, have an uncanny ability to see through people like that.

b. I am absolutely disgusted. Disgusted by the actions of not only the bbc journalists but of the obvious bbc editorial line that has, for 2 years plus, stymied and belittled a democratically elected campaign that looks only for the chance to be given a level forum and an equal oportunity to put across its case for the independence debate. To do that, it is the right of the people of scotland to be given an honest & unbiased, unedited and wholly accurate version of events for them to be able to use that information and their own free will to decide their opinion. The question of self determination for every man woman and child on this earth is of the utmost importance and is not to be taken lightly, which is why I think that only a transparent and open conversation with no bias or self imposed connotations whatsoever by either side is the only way that a fair and just conclusion can be reached. Emancipation through education. This is clearly not happening and something must be done!!

c. The vote was fixed by the paedophiles in westminister, the British Bias Corporation are a disgrace and everybody should stop paying their licence fee as I have done and refuse to listen to their news which has been put together by the english scum, look at the way they portray old cow liz and the rest of the dole scroungers in its family, that shows the level of bias they truly have.

d. ‘Paxman for example always says “You’ve not answered the question”‘ – but viewers can decide for themselves if they agree with Paxman or not, as they are allowed to witness the reply. In this instance Nick Robinson took it upon himself to make the decision for us.

e. I thought Nick Robinson was a good honest reporter now I know he must have worked for a newspaper like the News of the World perhaps he should seek a similar post based on the accuracy of his comments. Perhaps reporters for the BBC have their own agenda, ie London is always right and is in fact the centre of the universe

f. Well done Alex you ripped him a new one, Nick is a Tory supporter.

g. As an American, I look forward to welcoming Scotland to the club of ”formerly ruled by Westminster” and will make a special trip to Scotland for a job well done. Britain was a fine idea, but it is time to move on.

h. Ever tried the BBC complaints procedure its designed to put you off anyway done it and called robinson and the BBC liars waiting on a answer i won’t hold my breath

i. I am sure this has already been posted, but just in case you missed it. The blatant laying of BBC’s Nick Robinson that Alex Salmond refused to answer a question, when in fact, he did answer the question…twice. SHAME ON THE BBC.


10. September 12 2014; Balance failure in BBC Scottish independence referendum coverage ‘wrong and not acceptable’ says Channel 4’s Stuart Cosgrove

a. Channel 4’s director of creative diversity, Stuart Cosgrove, has slammed the lack of journalistic scrutiny of Scottish independence referendum ‘scare headlines’ and called for a re-think at the BBC on the nature of balance and due impartiality.

b. Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, Cosgrove said misreporting over claims the Royal Bank of Scotland would move jobs to England in the event of a Yes vote had been shown to be lacking substance and scrutiny after RBS issued a clarification to the media confirming any move would be relevant to “operations, not people”.

c. He told BBC presenter John Beattie: “I think elsewhere in the media and elsewhere within this organisation, the last 24 hours have allowed people to assume that this is about job losses in Scotland and the loss of great, significant investment.

d. “It’s clearly now is not, and yet another story when investigated the day after is proved to not have anything like the substance [it seemed].”

e. “The lack of scrutiny of this and the idea that people just wanted scare headlines I think is an outrage, particularly at this stage in the referendum when there’s so much to talk about and where journalism should be coming alive.

f. “Let’s just take the BP example; we are being told that BP are moving to London. Really? What exactly are they going to do given the £200m they’ve recently invested in offshore drilling technology – where are they going to be drilling? Hemel Hempstead? Of course they’re not.”

g. The comments came amid a media storm when Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond challenged the BBC’s Nick Robinson in a heated press conference exchange, and accused the Treasury of leaking sensitive financial information regarding RBS to the BBC.

h. Cosgrove added that following the referendum there should be an examination of how the BBC measured balance and impartiality in its coverage, saying that applying election coverage models to the referendum when the main parties are unionist could limit time given to voices from the Yes side.

i. “One of the things I’d like to challenge, and I think it’s something we’ll need to talk about once the referendum’s over – and I think it has a significant impact on this institution, the BBC – is the nature of balance and due impartiality,” he said.


j. “Yesterday, I was watching the rolling BBC News very closely and it was clear that notions of balance were being predicated on a party political basis. It would go from Cameron to Miliband to Clegg and back.

k. “If you look at it as a different premise – it’s a yes/no question – then Patrick Harvie of the Greens, who is not the leader but is a significant political person within the Yes campaign, should have had exactly the same coverage as Ed Miliband.

l. “Do you think for a second he got that? Of course he didn’t. I think there’s been a failure of the understanding of the nature of balance and due impartiality. It’s simply wrong and not acceptable.”

11. September 14 2014; “The Drum”, picks up the story – BBC claims Scottish independence campaign coverage ‘rigorously impartial’ as campaigners protest outside Pacific Quay offices

a. As a crowd of Yes campaigners demonstrated outside of the headquarters of BBC Scotland on the afternoon of Sunday 13 September, with a banner being used to call for the sacking of the corporation’s political editor, Nick Robinson, the BBC released a statement to deny the accusations that its coverage was biased.

b. A BBC spokesperson told The Drum: “We believe our coverage of the referendum has been rigorously impartial and in line with our guidelines on fairness and impartiality.”

c. The Yes campaign has reacted following a clash between Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond and Robinson earlier in the week during a press conference where Salmond demanded an inquiry into who leaked the decision by the Royal Bank of Scotland to relocate its headquarters to England in the event of Scottish independence.

d. Robinson had attempted to push Salmond for a response on the economic significance of such a decision by the bank, which led to Salmond accusing him of ‘heckling’. Speaking afterwards to BBC Radio Scotland, Salmond said of the leak: “What concerned me is not the impact on jobs because there will be none…what really concerns me is how this

information was released to the BBC.” Meanwhile, BBC reporters have faced further accusations of bias in their reporting directly through social media.

12. Comment:

a. My understanding is that Nick Robinson, was not singled out by protestors because he asked difficult questions but because the he is responsible for the BBC One news’ brutal edit of Salmond’s response at the press conference on Thursday. The two questions and answers can be viewed online and was broadcast live on BBC News channel. The BBC Political Editor SHOULD be asking politicians questions that affect us. Nick Robinson’s report, however, stated that Scotland’s First minister “did not answer”.

b. Robinson does not work for Fox News yet, he is paid by our BBC. Because of broadcasters like him and recent cover ups, the BBC is now seen as a self-serving state-funded agenda network. He is helping to destroy the corporation.


13. September 26 2014; Scottish news website Bella Caledonia launches ‘buycott’ plan to redirect BBC licence fee funds amid bias row

a. Scottish politics site Bella Caledonia has announced plans to launch a ‘buycott’ – a request for readers in Scotland disillusioned with the Scottish mainstream media to redirect licence fee or newspaper subscription payments into funding Scotland’s alternative media scene.

b. Mike Small, editor and founder of the website – which launched in 2007 and has already raised six-figure sums from public donations to fund content – announced the plans on the BBC’s Scotland 2014 programme during a debate about alleged pro-union bias of the mainstream media during the referendum campaign.

c. He told the programme: “Tomorrow we’ll be launching a buycott to re-channel energy for people who want to give up their licence fee to the BBC or their commitment to newspapers and pay instead to online services, and that’s going to happen in a huge way.”

d. During the studio debate with BBC editorial policies chief adviser Rick Bailey and John McLellan of the Scottish Newspaper Society, Small warned that “complacency” from the BBC in their response to accusations of bias would drive people further towards alternative online media services, and said the website’s coming plans would “completely transform” Scotland’s media.

e. “Some people call it the fifth estate, where people are enabled citizens who are empowered to know how to translate media and create content, and that’s what we’re doing,” he said. “There’ll be podcasts, video, blogs, all sorts of content that will completely transform the media landscape in Scotland, and that’s about to happen.”

f. At its best, Bella Caledonia attracted more than 500,000 unique users a month in the run up to Scottish independence referendum, peaking at one million in August, and it has branched its investment out into creating a print product, ‘Closer’, in a bid to reach readers who are not online.

g. A more comprehensive outline of Bella Caledonia’s plans will be published later today on its website.

h. Before the referendum, The Drum spoke to Mike Small of Bella Caledonia and the editors of similar alternative sites Wings Over Scotland and Newsnet Scotland to find out more about the rise of Scotland’s new media


14. October 17 2014; Social media more influential information source than newspapers in Scottish independence referendum

a. Mainstream media coverage assisted only 28 per cent of voters in Scotland when making a decision on the issues they considered most important in the Scottish independence referendum last month, according to YouGov research commissioned by News UK.

b. The figures showed that despite 71 per cent of respondents saying they had gathered general information on referendum issues from TV and radio and 60 per cent from newspapers and their websites, more than two thirds (68 per cent) of voters said that mainstream media coverage of the issues concerning them most in the referendum debate had not helped them reach a decision.

c. More than half of respondents (54 per cent) said they got general information on social media and other websites, and 44 per cent said they took information directly from the Yes and No campaigns.

d. However, when asked about information that did influence decisions, more people said they’d used information from social media and other websites (39 per cent) than newspapers (34 per cent), although TV and radio was the strongest source (42 per cent), and nearly a third (30 per cent) said they used information from the Yes and No campaigns when deciding how to vote.

e. The figures were unveiled by News UK chief executive Mike Darcey at Press Gazette’s News On The Move event in London on Thursday. The poll had 1,268 respondents.

f. Darcey said the referendum campaign highlighted the role newspapers play in political polls.

g. “A great example of how newspapers can really foster a debate is the recent independence referendum in Scotland,” he said.

h. “It was the Sunday Times poll, for better or worse, showing the Yes camp ahead, that threw the No campaign into turmoil and sparked an entirely new debate about the sort of powers that would be devolved if Scotland voted to retain the union.”

i. The Scottish independence referendum debate sparked media controversy when protests erupted outside the BBC’s Scotland HQ in Glasgow amid accusations from voters that there was a pro-union bias in mainstream media coverage.

j. Of the mainstream newspapers, weekly title the Sunday Herald was the only publication to back Yes, while the Scotsman, Daily Record and Guardian and all the other dailies declared in favour of a No vote with the exeption of the Scottish Sun which did not take a stated position.

k. During the week of the referendum, The Drum investigated the rise of Scotland’s new media and spoke to the editors of alternative news websites Bella Caledonia, Newsnet Scotland and Wings Over Scotland, and gathered views from mainstream titles including the Sunday Herald, Scotsman and STV. includes 16 min video


15. October 16 2014; Survey reveals voters turn to newspapers for information on Scottish Independence Newspapers central to healthy political debate News UK CEO tells Press Gazette conference

a. A new survey suggests that newspapers played a greater role in determining how people voted in the Scottish Independence referendum last month than either social media or the campaigns themselves. The research conducted by YouGov for News UK revealed that 60% of voters said they relied on newspapers (and their websites) for the majority of their information on the independence debate.

b. This compared to 54% who said they obtained their information from social media and 44% from the ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ camps directly.

c. The research results were unveiled by Mike Darcey, CEO of News UK, at Press Gazette’s third annual “News on the Move” conference today. In the wake of the research he said:

d. Just think about that for a minute. In the recent Scottish referendum, held at a time when the digital revolution was in full flow, newspapers played a more significant role than either social media or the political campaigns themselves. Newspapers remain central to healthy political debate and the Scottish referendum just proved it.

e. Mr Darcey highlighted the Sunday Times YouGov survey published on 7th September 2014 as a key moment in the debate. He said:

f. It was the Sunday Times poll, showing the ‘yes’ camp ahead, that threw the ‘no’ campaign into turmoil and sparked an entirely new debate about the sort of powers that would be devolved if Scotland voted to retain the Union.

g. The latest ABC figures show that people also turned strongly towards The Times, as the paper of record, for politics during the week of the vote. An extra 70,000 copies were sold across the UK including 10,000 extra copies of the Scottish edition between Wednesday and Saturday. At the weekend following the vote, The Sunday Times also sold an additional 20,000 copies.

h. With the general election just months away Mike Darcey used his speech to stress the importance of professional journalism to political debate and the democratic process. Includes a 21 min video of the conference



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