SCOTLAND'S only pro-independence daily news outlet The National is joining forces with new-media website Bella Caledonia to launch a 24-page monthly magazine focused on social, political and cultural analysis and featuring regular reports from some of the country's best writers.
Two of Scotland’s most popular and recognisable pro-independence media channels have teamed up for the first time to provide a counterpoint to Scotland’s increasingly Unionist mainstream media agenda ahead of a much-anticipated second referendum campaign.
The National’s editor Callum Baird said: "Scotland needs The National and Bella Caledonia to bring balance and plurality to the news media in Scotland. We’re up against a relentless tide of overwhelmingly Unionist news outlets, and it’s important to fight back with recognised pro-independence voices.
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"This partnership gives our regular Saturday readers a new magazine, and allows Bella Caledonia to reach a whole new audience. Led by The National, the Yes media in Scotland is thriving, and it’s important that we all do our bit to support each other in reaching as many people as possible in as many ways we can.”
The new ‘Bella Caledonia’ magazine will be carried in The National on the first Saturday of every month, providing more content and more views for readers to enjoy.
At just £1, these special Saturday editions of The National represent excellent value, and subscribers to the e-edition will get the new ‘Bella Caledonia’ magazine for free. Half of the content for the magazine will be provided by Bella, the other half by The National.
Inside the first edition, this Saturday 4th March:
• Joanna Blythman on the Errington Cheese case - and the wider implications for small-scale food producers and Scottish food culture.
• Sara Shaarawi on the movement to create a more multi-ethnic diverse theatre and arts scene in Scotland.
• Gordon Guthrie on how to Win the Next Referendum.
• Adam Ramsay on creating a foreign policy for Scotland.
• Award-winning journalist Hugh MacDonald interviewing historian Tom Devine.
• Mountain walker and TV presenter Cameron McNeish taking readers on a journey in his campervan to the distant north-east of Scotland.
Mike Small, editor of Bella Caledonia:
We’re delighted to be working in partnership with The National. We'll be bringing monthly features on culture and politics in print for the very first time.
We hope it will bring us to a new readership at this time when austerity and Brexit puts so much at stake and so many people are suffering from economic hardship. With the prospect of a second referendum looming it's time for the vision of "another Scotland" to be articulated and re-explored. People will only be motivated to vote Yes if they can see that this will mean real change to their lives.
There's no point just endlessly blaming others for losing the first referendum. The task is to reach out and engage with those who didn't vote at all, and those who voted No last time and may be bitterly disappointed by the betrayal of Brexit and the raft of failed promises from Better Together that have been exposed over the last two years. We can only do this as "alternative media" by innovating and expanding our readership.
This is just one of a number of collaborations and new initiatives we'll be announcing this week as we re-launch to get ready for the political challenge ahead. This doesn't mean repeating indyref one with the same arguments shouted louder. It means breaking new ground, fresh thinking and reaching out beyond the already-convinced. "Watertight compartments are useful only for sinking ships," said Hugh MacDiarmid, and the need to move beyond our own bubbles and into communities, demographics and groups of people we don't already engage with is going to be the key.
The National has been a ground-breaking newspaper that emerged out of the Yes movement. The strength of the Yes movement has always been that it's a grassroots network full of passionate creativity and energy. We hope to reflect that positive approach in our expanding content over the next few months, bringing new voices to print that question and challenge the state we're in.
This is about Raploch not Bannockburn, and Bella remains committed to self-determination for the sake of social justice and defending human values in the face of the rise of the far-right. Our commitment is to aspire to a better country: "it's time to get above ourselves."