YOU will not be surprised to learn that I love news. If time permitted, I would watch every bulletin, stacked back-to-back, and watch them again on the plus-one services. The only real respite from the glut of unfolding stories is my iPhone, where I take a break by scrolling for news and the acidic reactions that follow.

In the naive days gone by, I would have called myself a news junkie, but having read Loki’s Poverty Safari I try to avoid such a callous use of words – I’m news dependent.

And the good news is that more news is coming.

You may feign sneering indifference and fear a London-led conspiracy, but I cannot wait for the new BBC Scotland channel to launch, in part because it will bring with it a new hour of news to prime-time television. My kitchen cupboard is already stacked with popcorn and I will be glued to the couch on the opening night like Michael Jackson in the Thriller video, stuffing sweet and salty into my mouth hoping for the odd faux pas, but deep down willing the channel to find a voice that chimes with modern-day Scotland.

The omens are good. Last week the news set was unveiled – it is modern and informal, with none of the BBC’s conventional desk-bound stuffiness. It is a raging purple pallet unencumbered by flags, national iconography or BBC insignias.

But what of the content – what should we expect from the news?

According to the communications regulator Ofcom, the nightly news bulletin will launch into a different stratosphere. “TV is the most-used platform for news nowadays (79%), followed by the internet (64%), radio (44%) and newspapers (40%).” Those figures are in flux and markedly so. “For those aged 16-24 ... the internet is the most-used platform. Eight in 10 (82%) of those aged 16-24 use the internet for news nowadays, compared to just six in ten (57%) that use TV.”

We are living in the midst of a digital media revolution where the news cycle has become hyperactive. Responding to breaking stories and separating the diamonds from the dung heap has become harder with the deluge of web-based media stories. TV news still matters, but its centrality is under threat, and media that feels threatened often makes fatal mistakes.

BBC Scotland hopes to attract the most evasive viewers – young people. That will not be easy and it may well come with a deep-seated dilemma. Among the many and varied social behaviours of young people is solid support for Scottish independence.

In the last Social Attitudes Survey, the BBC’s own website admits that “there is now a very large age gap in support for independence, with 72% of 16 to 24-year-olds wanting to leave the UK compared with just 26% of people aged 65 and over”. So from the outset the bulletin – indeed the entire channel – is caught on the horns of a dilemma: how do you skew the young in such a volatile political era?

One obvious response is to jettison some of the baggage that the BBC traditionally brings with it: the caution, the fear of risking offence and the pursuit of a British consensus that has long since broken down.

My one piece of advice is to embrace informality but only when it aids intelligent thought. News is not entertainment and confusing genres in this context would be a fatal mistake. Yes, news can entertain, but high-quality bulletins must avoid varnishing complexity with the veneer of populism.

Last week, the BBC led with a news report about Nicola Sturgeon being excluded from a pan-UK television debate on Brexit. It was a big enough story in its own right. It had a specific Scottish angle and so was unquestionably the right story to lead that evening’s bulletin.

But for baffling reasons, the report intercut the First Minister’s set-piece announcement with scenes from a theatre performance in a nearby house. It was a costumed drama about the Scottish Enlightenment.

The juxtaposition of Scotland then and Scotland now simply didn’t work and the visual grammar of “theatre” and political discourse clashed, mutually undermining each other, and leaving viewers confused and in some cases angry that Sturgeon’s stance was being parodied. I don’t share that feeling but the item was uncomfortable because it sought to “entertain”

viewer and to “soften” the introduction to a clearly hard political issue. As a result it exposed a lack of confidence rather than enlightenment.

If there is one thing viewers instinctively dislike it’s feeling uncomfortable in their own homes, which is why the on-screen chemistry of presenters needs to feel natural and not contrived. The two main anchor presenters – Rebecca Curran and Martin Geissler – are not carrying baggage from past shows and have a very good chance of hitting the sweet spot of informed and informal.

The one thing they should be careful of is not leaning too heavily towards the kind of sofa informality that makes The One Show virtually unwatchable. Nor should the news presenter be soft-talked into becoming a metaphoric husband and wife team.

I recently read a rival news-service’s internal strategy document which was explicit that the presenters should feel like a family. What do they mean by this facile rubbish – do they mean Rose and Fred West, or those families that are frequently described as dysfunctional, or those creepy families that are photographed around a Christmas-tree wearing woollen Rudolph jerseys?

Television is prone to this kind of fake social psychology. I have no interest in newscasters being my family. The one I have is demanding enough.

Informality is about breaking with institutional conventions – that is as much an issue of how newsrooms function as the design of a set. The biggest challenges facing the new BBC service are its own internal silos and past practices and, most of all, how it loosens its ties with the status quo. It must reach out to the Scotland of now, not the Britain of yesteryear.

For example, news reporting is frequently criticised for staying too close to the calendar of institutional politics. In an era where third-sector organisations such as Mary’s Meals, Autism Scotland and the Simon Community are as likely to deliver news stories as the offices of government, the show needs to be aware of Holyrood but not fixated with it.

Finding great stories in the arts, culture and the environment, where Scotland excels, could loosen the straightjacket still further, but again proceed with caution: there must be a story, not just a place to film.

News crews have an irritating habit of seeking out locations to make a weak story seem superficially interesting. This can mean taking a camera crew to a circus, a fairground or a fish-processing plant, in search of a metaphor that can “illuminate” an issue. No metaphor is too stretched, no fairground too cheesy if a script needs a political merry-go round, a rollercoaster week or a bumpy ride through parliament.

Scotland has an advanced and politically sophisticated electorate. There is growing evidence that viewers see through this guff for what it is: third-rate camouflage to disguise serious analysis.

It is now more than years since the nascent Monty Python crew satirised the literalness of news scripts on The Frost Show. The old Lord Privy Seal sketch, in which they used images of a lord, a toilet and a performing seal, to pictorialise a news bulletin, has been handed down as a parody of news scripts. The legacy still lingers. Tired, predictable and patronising news reports are still very much with us. Every time an item strays from the studio into a car-plant, a veterinary surgery or a recycling centre you can feel the torrent of mixed metaphors raining down on the script.

News has even created its own entertainment trope – the “and finally” item. I would be happy to see this risible rubbish confined to the dustbin of history too.

We are being stripped of European citizenship, our economy is under threat and our nation is treated like a distant plantation. Tell me about all of that – don’t send me to bed with a cheery goodbye, no matter how warm and reassuring.

“You are being treated like shit, Scotland, but never mind, here’s a budgie that flaps its wings when Strictly comes on.’’ Please no.

The final book in Stuart Cosgrove’s Soul Trilogy, Harlem 69: the Future of Soul, is published by Polygon