It is fair to say that the eyes of the world, including the eyes of Slovenian media, were on Scotland last week, closely watching how Scotland will decide at the independence referendum. As a free-lance British correspondent for Slovenian TV news Svet on Kanal A (besides being a lecturer in public relations), I covered the referendum campaigns and results from Stirling with a help from the CMC journalism and technical team.
The reason for interest of Slovenian media in Scottish independence referendum is simple; Slovenia, where I am originally from, was, albeit in a different political and socio-economic context, fighting a similar battle 24 years ago, when Slovenes with a convincing majority of 88% voted for an independent country. Slovenia declared its independence from Yugoslavia on 25 June 1991. With this in mind, Slovenian media framed the story of the Scottish referendum as “Scotland does not wish for anything else than Slovenia wished for24 years ago – to put its own future in its own hands”.
How Slovenian media portrayed Scotland in the upcoming days to referendum? They described it as a beautiful and picturesque country, the land of whisky, bagpipes and kilts (no surprise there). They also labelled it as a wealthy country with oil reserves, natural resources and higher GDP than the rest of the UK that would with the independence become even wealthier. They also emphasised that what separates Scotland from London is a strong pro-EU orientation and welfare policies.
The closer we got to the independence referendum, the more often I was in contact with Svet’s foreign affairs correspondent Melita Stolnik. The most extensive and intense coverage was on the day of the referendum and the day after, when the results were announced.
In the morning of the referendum day and the results day, Melita and I started putting together the news story and while waiting for the approval from the editor, I briefed the technical team here at Stirling. Michael McDonald and Dr Eddy Borges Rey were behind the camera and Billy Crosgray assisted with technical aspects of the coverage.
After the story was approved, we chose the location, set up the camera equipment, fixed (windproof) hair and make-up and three-two-one – we went live! Making professional news for a TV station was a very exciting and challenging task and the whole team enjoyed the experience very much.
Unlike Slovenia (and to Slovenia’s slight surprise), Scotland voted No with 55% majority. However, as some of my friends said: “Who gets to live through independence and creation of a ‘new’ country twice?” It looks like I will not, not this time, but the experience of covering and going through the referendum was certainly unique enough.