‘Magazine’ Reporting on not in Scotland?

While the website did cover the first good news on the daily death rate, in the First Minister’s briefing yesterday, Reporting Scotland were not going there.

Once more, they reveal themselves to be more ‘magazine’ than ‘news’ reporters. More on this below.

The FM made a point of this news, offering an obvious headline that any ‘news’ reporter should have spotted, said:

244 of those deaths were registered over the last week. That is actually 35 fewer than in the week before and that is the first decrease in the weekly number of deaths that we have seen since the end of September.

She was careful and cautious but clearly pleased to be able to offer something to encourage us to stick with ‘our’ collective strategy to fight the virus. I say ‘our’ because I know from the opinion polls that a large majority support both it and the FM.

I’ve just used the word ‘us’ there, unthinking. Maybe that’s the problem? The RS team don’t think that they themselves, the people out there, the NHS staff and the Scottish Government are all together in ‘us.’

‘Us’ is just them really and the rest of us are just material to be worked into narratives of competing interests.

Reporting Scotland, ignored this news in reports saturated instead with problems for one or two individuals they had found to complain about coping with big families, the travel problems to Orkney and too-late testing in care homes.

For some time, I’ve been criticising Reporting Scotland for its heavy emphasis on the personal, mostly heart-rending, stories of one or two individuals and their neglect of more important, for the news, context, geographical and historical. You can see the contrast even with the BBC Scotland website.

I’m becoming increasingly aware now of what has happened.

I used to teach research methods to journalism students and I remember, now, some of them talking of become magazine reporters.

Here’s a definition:

A magazine reporter writes features, stories and columns for magazines. They interview people and turn their interviews into compelling stories for their readers.


See? There’s no mention of facts, statistics, trends. They find one or two people with compelling stories to tell and their purpose is to make narratives that are even more compelling, for human interest.

It’s not the news.

3 thoughts on “‘Magazine’ Reporting on not in Scotland?

  1. Aye John, context is everything and Reporting Scotland has gained a stellar reputation for not providing it.
    The programme has become an on screen Chat magazine and it is cringe-inducing.
    It’s a daily diet of personal woe, dare I say grief porn, through which you can almost hear the producer hissing into the reporter’s earpiece “get the tears, get the tears…”.
    To be invariably followed by “A Scottish Government spokesperson said…”
    There’s nothing wrong with holding government to account.
    But RS’s overuse of personal tragedies in an attempt to do so has become utterly predictable.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. when you interrogate the bbc news feed through the app on your phone you see this thought of yours reinforced. Chit chat and speculation have supplanted news.
    I’m beginning to understand how grumpy old men are so.


  3. Job interview–Repressing Scotland.—–
    “Now, Ms Smith, I see you had a “speculative” piece in your newspaper column yesterday. Could I ask what background research you did?
    “Well, um, I was down the boozer………….”!
    “Say no more Ms Smith, you are just what we are looking for……….went to school with Ruthie….. father a Broxi Bear…..when can you start”?
    “i think you should be on our “fact checker” team”!


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