Indicative of BBC Scotland’s quality?

By stewartb

As a regular reader of the BBC News website (no mocking please!) I have developed the habit of  considering the ‘style’ and ‘structure’ of the writing and not only its substantive content. The former can influence how the latter is framed and therefore affect how a news story comes to be understood by us, the consumers of the output.

There is a little illustration today from BBC Scotland’s journalism – an indicative example you might say! It’s from a lengthy article on the BBC News website’s Scotland page about a housing association and a tenancy dispute. I offer no comment, no judgement on the issue being reported only on the way someone in BBC Scotland has written up the story.  Now you may call me ‘picky’ but I (still) expect a degree of coherence and consistency – a general acceptance that words and phrases do have actual meanings – in the output from the ‘public service’ broadcaster.

First there is today’s headline: ‘Glasgow sisters TO BE EVICTED weeks after mother’s death’ (my emphasis)

Then there is the first sentence in the article: ‘Two sisters were TOLD THEY WOULD BE EVICTED from the family home three weeks after their mother died.’

These two sentences do not mean the same thing. And later the significance of this difference becomes blindingly obvious but only way down in a long article. Eventually we are told this:

‘Sanctuary Scotland HAS NOW EXTENDED THE TIME  she and Taylor have to move out – ALBEIT INDEFINITELY – and discussed alternative housing arrangements they may be able to pursue.’

So is the headline simply, straightforwardly a falsehood? No-one involved is ‘TO BE EVICTED’?  And what exactly is this ‘ALBEIT INDEFINITELY’ phrase  doing in there, what (clumsily) is it seeking to convey? In contrast to the headline, there is now to be no eviction imposed at all in this case, ever?

We all need to hone our textual analysis skills as BBC Scotland’s reports cannot be relied upon to be quite what they appear to be! When it comes to consuming BBC output in Scotland it seems it is essential to be an ‘alert reader’, ‘alert listener’ and ‘alert viewer’! Alternative approaches are of course available!



8 thoughts on “Indicative of BBC Scotland’s quality?

  1. As John and others elsewhere have pointed out , Headlines convey a stark message – but are often later in the same article ( sometimes MUCH later ) modified or even contradicted by the author , but often too late for many readers who will not stay the course .
    Deliberate misleading by the paper /media outlet or lack of skill by the writer ? Whichever , it should not be acceptable to a World Renowned ( sic ) broadcaster like the BBC !

    Liked by 3 people

  2. As with council housing, the tenancy, far as I know, does not automatically transfer to the children of the original holder of such tenancy. Seems in this case that the daughters are allowed to stay in their home, which is good, and begs the question, should all adults in council or housing association property be considered tenants with rights? They no doubt all contribute to the rent in some way or another.

    The BBC are an utter disgrace for this headline, again an attempt to politicise, use and distort the truth about a family going through a very difficult time.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. The prime reason why nobody in our household watches any and all BBC offerings. The overwhelming bias and inaccurate reporting would do the ancient USSR proud in their merciless diatribes about ALL things Scottish. Yet our time WILL come make no mistake!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. BBC Scotland.
    Reliant for its BIG stories through “direction” from London.
    Reliant for news stories through FoI requests by Brit Nats.
    Reliant for its ethos by copying the Herald/Scotsman.

    BBC Scotland lacks ethical journalism, direction, impartiality and the basic reporting skills required of a proper news outlet.

    Hon Sarah should never have been subjected to abuse, but she should never have been hired to a sensitive editorial position by an organisation already under the shadow of political bias.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Excellent analysis and summation.
    James (we’ve seen the email FM) Cook clearly does not intend building any renewed credibility for Pacific Quay 🙄 What could possibly go wrong.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Don’t know what is going on here, is there anyone to put me though this site…you can text me though my number: I’m a country girl +12242524916


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.