I got involved in Newsnet just after the referendum and found a thriving online community committed to independence and fierce about getting the best possible deal for Scotland if that wasn’t achievable. http://newsnet.scot/2015/02/newsnet-scot-financial-appeal-if-you-value-independent-journalism-support-us/
Since then myself and Maurice Smith of TVI Productions in the Merchant City in Glasgow, have looked inside, outside and under the bonnet and taken our time to reassemble a visually appealing website with easy-to-understand operation and a range of diverse content.
It isn’t as easy as it sounds. There is a hinterland to Newsnet which was the original of its type and became a bridge into the online Yes movement for thousands. Insofar as it is possible for New Media, Newsnet has a history – and a bit of tradition.
Yet the debate changes, the country changes and so do we. A lot of our regular readers come to us, in a crowded market, for niche material. We don’t pretend to run a full-blown 24 hour news service but rather we redefine what we think of as news. Scan your daily Press and imagine just how many of those headlines you really couldn’t live without. Then think how many you’d like to read if they had some insight and analysis from a Yes or Home Rule perspective. There is always another side and that’s we way we try to think.
What will be the real situation in North Sea oil and gas not today but in two years time? How do we develop oil if we want to be green? Why DID Labour lose its mojo? What were the Lib Dems thinking? Is the scale of UK sovereign debt real or is it a cover for ideological public spending cuts? Is SNP support verging on the messianic and is a fall from grace imminent?
That’s the way we see current affairs and we seek out people with knowledge and an alternative view to provide it. We hear from former Tory businessmen who are sick of the British obstacles to trade, from women who are energised like never before… from historians and campaigners and creative and academics like John Robertson whose ground-breaking work on broadcast bias drew a furious response from BBC management.
Our contributors write for us. We interview them on radio. Sometimes on television. I know many people who appreciate a different tone, a fuller, uninterrupted informative interview which is longer than the presenter-led BBC news allows. All from a Scottish progressive perspective which doesn’t have you howling the radio in exasperation. They download from the Newsnet website or the App Store and use it while running or in the gym, while busy around the house or driving. And you get my analysis of key events. (I never miss it.)
We do it because we love it…and because it’s a contribution to the national debate. The days of remaining silent are over. We’re not trying to make a profit, we’re trying to become sustainable.
We are looking for everybody’s contribution and have a separate section dedicated to citizen journalism. We cover arts and history too. We’re offering more – invites to events and debates and, if you’re up for it, an interview by batemanbroadcasting.com! We plan to engage fully up to the General Election with informative pieces and our university-based media monitor. To help us do so, we’d like you to come inside the Newsnet and help us with a one-off donation or make the accountant’s day with a monthly subscription. Head over to the site and have a look.
We have writers and broadcasters who need to make a living. We have offices, a studio and equipment to pay for. You’ll get a welcome pack (steady…) and maybe too that exclusive glow that comes from knowing you’re an insider. And all regular subscribers are eligible to win a day in the wine bar with me for you and a mate…but don’t tell Jim Murphy!