Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Media’

A Revolution is coming to BBC Scotland – let’s seize it and make it happen

Gerry Hassan

Sunday Herald, September 6th 2015

The BBC is one of the key institutions of Scotland and the UK. It arouses passion in many forms: identification, reverence for some of its past glories, fury at current and historic shortcomings. These can come from anywhere on the political spectrum.

In Scotland, many views of the broadcaster have become interwoven with how it covered the independence referendum. No-one really thinks the BBC had a good campaign. This unleashed allegations of bias, demonstrations at the BBC, and a sparring match between Alex Salmond and the BBC’s former political editor Nick Robinson.

All this has left a BBC shaken, stirred, and unsure which way to turn, while a large section of Scotland feels shortchanged and wants reform. To understand and address these feelings we need to see the referendum and its aftermath as part of a much bigger picture.

The BBC and BBC Scotland come from, and to this day are rooted in, a very different UK and Scotland. The BBC’s origins in the 1920s were as a patrician, elite-driven organisation whose motto – “Nation shall speak peace unto nation”, adopted in 1927 – showed that it saw itself as benignly speaking down to the world, at home and abroad, and enlightening it. It was also clear that “the nation” in question was Britain, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland seen as mere regions or outposts. Read the rest of this entry »

Scotland’s Football Revolution of Recent Years

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, May 6th 2015

The last few years have seen the natural order of things disrupted in Scotland.

The once dominant force in the land has been humbled, its traditional place and authority usurped by others, and a series of ineffective and incompetent leaders have promised salvation and then not delivered.

This is the story of Glasgow Rangers, although there are similarities with the recent experience of Scottish Labour. And yet until the last six months or so of the indyref, the big news story of our country was not political, but about Rangers.

To some people this was a period of joy: celebrating the toppling of the famous and once powerful Rangers. This was particularly true of Rangers haters, some of who were Celtic fans and some of who were fans of Scotland’s other forty senior clubs fed up at the predictability of the Old Firm’s historic stranglehold. Read the rest of this entry »

The Crisis of BBC Scotland – A Lack of Vision, Integrity and Accountability

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, June 4th 2014

The independence referendum has thrown a spanner in the works of large parts of institutional Scotland.

So far the biggest meltdown has been CBI Scotland becoming a registered ‘No’ supporter, then baulking at the consequences. Another was the maneuvering of SCVO on the second referendum question and then being left on its own when the politicians agreed on a single question. But fast coming up the tracks in the incompetence stakes is BBC Scotland.

The latest instance is the axing of BBC presenter Gary Robertson after 24 years working for the BBC, 15 of them with BBC Scotland. Robertson has been got rid of for financial reasons. What is not officially acknowledged by the BBC, but obvious to everyone, is that this is directly related to recent decisions to hire on sizeable six figure salaries, Jim Naughtie and Sarah Smith. Read the rest of this entry »

BBC and STV are Falling Short in Scotland’s Great Debate

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, March 5th 2014

The BBC and STV are failing the people of Scotland in their coverage of the independence referendum, despite the best attempts of some of the many talented journalists still in these organisations. The reasons for this are deep-seated: historic, structural, and about the failure of management to lead, be bold and creative.

The independence debate could not have come at a worse time for the BBC and STV. It caught both bodies ill-prepared, under-resourced, and basically, not taking Scotland or Scottish politics that seriously.

It never used to be like this. Turn back to the end of the 1980s and early 1990s and both BBC and STV had a reputation for doing news and current affairs well. The early evening news programmes, ‘Reporting Scotland’ and ‘Scotland Today’ (the precursor to ‘STV News at Six’), were seen across the UK as serious, authoritative and popular. Read the rest of this entry »

A Memo to James Naughtie on his Return to Scotland

Gerry Hassan

Scottish Review, October 10th 2013

Dear Jim,

It has come to my attention that you planning to move north to cover the independence referendum, admittedly for only two days a week.

Since you last worked in Scotland in 1977 a lot has altered that you might find at first a bit bewildering. Scotland has changed, not entirely in ways immediately apparent or straightforward. Some institutions which have the same names as 36 years ago have changed, nearly totally out of recognition. New bodies and different ways of things of doing things have emerged.

To save you time and reading, considering that you are only here two days a week, here is a short guide to what’s changed and what’s not changed, and how to make some sense of the public life of Scotland. Read the rest of this entry »