Well here we are; a new year, a brand new look and ready to go. This year is election year, and boy what a year it’s going to be. The SNP are finishing their first historic term in office and the constitutional debate is now firmly on the agenda.
Independence or more powers are the only two items on the menu, the old chef’s favourite – status quo – having been consigned to the dustbin.
This time last year this site didn’t exist. A small monthly newsletter consolidated by an even smaller blog was all Newsnet Scotland was. In terms of significance we were so small that links to the blog could be posted on BBC online forums – my, how times change.
We are now attracting a regular monthly unique visitor total of almost 30,000 and have been visited by over 182,000 individual PCs from locations as diverse as Holland, USA and Japan.
Try to mention Newsnet Scotland on a BBC online forum today and you’ll be electronically ticked off for using foul and abusive language. Repeat the offence and it’s off to the Cyberian salt mines, account closed and a number where your name used to be with not so much as a toodle-ooh.
But being treated like an online leper by the BBC, as much a badge of honour as it is, is not the height of Newsnet Scotland’s ambitions. That’s why we have invested time and money in developing this brand new site and have been busily working in the background seeking volunteers and, yes, professional journalists prepared to contribute to Newsnet Scotland. You may have already noticed some excellently crafted articles from our most recent recruits.
So, it is with great pleasure that I introduce the all new Newsnet Scotland; Sleek, professional and ready to go.
The new professional look is designed to take Newsnet Scotland into May’s elections and beyond. It will also make Newsnet Scotland more attractive to online advertisers and professional contributors alike. We already have the numbers in terms of a very loyal readership; the new look and a more diverse content will now allow us to move to the next level.
A central part of the new design is our resource centre set up in order to help the aspiring journalist wishing to contribute, the concerned member of the public wishing to expose corruption or the individual simply wishing to upload an interesting or helpful document or file.
This goes to the very heart of what Newsnet Scotland is all about. We are not the mainstream Scottish media, we are Scots – ordinary everyday Scots from all walks of life who are concerned that debate is being stifled, news is being manipulated and the voice of a significant proportion of the population is being silenced.
This site is intended as a rallying call to those amongst us who are fortunate enough in that they are able to articulate the concerns of the silenced. It is also a ‘call to linguistic arms’ aimed at those professionals who hitherto have been unable to voice their own concerns about the chronic decay that is now evident in the once proud Scottish media.
The new site also features our radical video area where interesting and informative recordings and clips will be available to view. It is our intention to place important campaign interviews and other significant broadcast material here for site visitors to view.
Kicking off our new launch we have a series of articles on the history of Scotland’s languages specially commissioned from Newsnet Scotland’s resident language expert Paul Kavanagh, the first of which is published in today’s edition.
However this mini-series will be nothing when compared to the in-depth and fascinating series of articles that Paul has put together exploding the myths and stereotypes about our linguistic heritage that are widespread amongst Scottish people.
Of course our official launch day also coincides with the celebration of Scotland’s national bard Robert Burns. And the day would not be fitting without mention of the man whose inspirational work is recited and sung by millions throughout the world. If anything was proof of the potency of the written word it is the legacy of Scotland’s most famous son.
Newsnet Scotland thought long and hard when considering the piece we thought might best symbolise today’s launch and what we are trying to achieve. Sic a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation was considered as was The Author’s Earnest Cry And Prayer, however we eventually settled on Awa’ Whigs, Awa’.
Whigs were the forerunners of the Liberals and many blamed them for selling out Scotland’s crown, identity and heritage – an apt choice I’m sure you’ll agree.
So with that we the Newsnet Scotland team hope that you, the Newsnet Scotland readers, will agree …………… to paraphrase the great man’s last words:
That we have not been idle.
On behalf of the Newsnet Scotland team, thanks for your loyalty, for your support and most of all for your contributions both written and financial.
Awa’ Whigs, Awa’