BBC Scotland’s The Nine spent more time on Monday covering Saturday's Eurovision final than Nicola Sturgeon’s trip to America – despite the channel’s head of news arguing the corporation provided “significant” reporting on the visit.

Research by The National found that across the two days the flagship hour-long news programme only spent about 10 minutes covering the First Minister’s visit to the states.

It comes after BBC Scotland’s head of news and current affairs, Gary Smith, criticised The National for Tuesday’s paper, which said there was a “blackout” of coverage across the corporation's platforms.

On Monday, Sturgeon was featured for 20 seconds in a three-minute package primarily focusing on Alok Sharma’s speech on honouring COP26 goals.

Across Reporting Scotland’s morning, afternoon and evening shows on Monday, the First Minister was also relegated to a small appearance in the Sharma story.

On the following night, The Nine presented an eight-minute segment stemming from comments Sturgeon made on Nato while speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington. Sturgeon’s comments made up around 48 seconds of the total package.

And throughout the day on Reporting Scotland there was around six minutes of coverage in total, again focused the Nato element of the speech and engagements in the US. The afternoon show did not cover the First Minister’s state visit at all.

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Meanwhile the BBC News website failed to cover Nancy Pelosi’s meeting with the First Minister. STV did report on the meeting, focusing on Pelosi’s description of Sturgeon as a “model to women everywhere”.

The BBC’s former head of news at Radio Scotland said the corporation’s reporting was “noticeably and wrongly absent”.

Writing in a letter to The National, Smith said: “Far from operating a ‘blackout’ as your misleading headline suggests, the BBC has in fact provided significant coverage of the First Minister’s visits across all our platforms.”

Smith argued BBC Scotland had requested an interview with Sturgeon on Monday – the BBC refused to say why it had taken until the First Minister was in the US to ask for this exchange. Sturgeon's initial schedule for her visit was released to journalists last Friday.

The organisation also would not say why it hadn’t detailed Pelosi’s conversations with Sturgeon.

The National:

The BBC has now refused to discuss its coverage of the First Minister’s visit any further.

“Clearly BBC Scotland still has some questions to answer here,” an SNP source told The National.

Between Monday and Tuesday BBC One Scotland’s news programmes provided around an hour of television coverage of Rangers’ Europa League final in Seville – featuring MSP Murdo Fraser discussing the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” as he flew to the Spanish city while parliament was sitting.

Stories like the “Wagatha Christie” trial, the Northern Ireland Protocol row and the Russian invasion of Ukraine also received coverage over the two-day period.