BBC Scotland is to spend an additional £5 million on its coverage of next year’s referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future.
The announcement – made jointly by the new BBC director-general, Tony Hall, and BBC Scotland director, Ken MacQuarrie – also includes a commitment to “further investment” in the BBC’s coverage of next year’s Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow.
Up to 50 temporary jobs are expected to be created from the referendum initiative in Scotland alone.
Says a BBC media release: “The extra investment of more than £5 million in referendum programming in Scotland has been made possible by savings achieved across the organisation through the Delivering Quality First initiative…”
Adds the BBC, in the pipeline are:
* A range of specially commissioned documentaries on all the main referendum issues which will be broadcast from late 2013 until September 2014;
* A series of debates from across the length and breadth of Scotland on all our platforms which will be broadcast throughout 2014;
* An up-to-the-minute live results service on television, radio and online, in English and in Gaelic;
* Local debates on dadio, new political programmes on BBC Radio Scotland in the run up to the referendum, and special radio documentaries;
* An enhanced online offer to provide depth and analysis, and also showcasing all the referendum coverage across the BBC;
* A fully-staffed ‘referendum unit’ will be set up and a ‘referendum editor’ appointed; and
* Over the course of 2014, a range of temporary roles, likely to be around 50, will work on referendum-related output.
These initiatives are for Scotland-wide programming, with new budget expected to be set aside for additional UK-wide programming.
Consistent calls for additional funding to cover both the referendum and the Commonwealth Games have been made key members of the NUJ, including Scottish Organiser, Paul Holleran, and former president, Scot, Peter Murray.
Regarding the Commonwealth Games, the BBC’s media release continues: “BBC Scotland plans, including the additional funding for the Commonwealth Games, are in the process of being finalised and a range of new output and cultural events, which will be in addition to the 12 days of great live sport, will be announced shortly. All BBC services and divisions are already collaborating closely to ensure that ambitious range of content and delivery mechanisms will help showcase both the Games and Scotland.”
The announcement comes on the same day that STV says it will be broadcasting a three-part Road to the Referendum series, from the fourth of next month and including exclusive interviews with both the Prime Minister, David Cameron, and First Minister, Alex Salmond.
The three, hour-long programmes will be presented by well-known Scots political commentator, Iain Macwhirter, and broadcast on June 4, 11 and 18 – each at 2000 hours. An accompanying book, by Macwhirter, is also being published.
As reported last year by allmediascotland.com, the project includes The Herald newspaper.
Says a STV media release, the programmes will take “an historical look at the past seven decades of Scotland’s political and cultural landscape, exploring the development of Scotland’s changing attitudes to culture and politics across the period using archive material from STV, The Herald, and other sources to bring the history of Scotland’s independence debate to life”.