News Reports

A selection of stories from Scotland, Europe and beyond

Reports marked “video journalism” are researched, shot and edited by me

Voraussichtlich im Oktober 2023 will Schottland ein neues Unabhängigkeitsreferendum durchführen. Schottische Nationalisten versprechen Wohlstand und eine faire Gesellschaft. Mein Interview im Deutschlandfunk. (28. Juni 2022, 09:11 Uhr)

The Swedish island of Gotland has been called an unsinkable aircraft carrier in the Baltic Sea. 300km from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad and opposite the Baltic countries it has an important strategic place. This week four Russian planes violated Gotland’s airspace. Sweden doesn’t belong to NATO, but has a cooperation agreement. The country has stepped up its defence spending by 40% in the last five years. An Là on BBC ALBA, 3/3/22 in Gaelic

My analysis of the election of the German Bundestag live from Berlin on “Good Morning Scotland” on 27/9/21 in English

Live from the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on “An Là” on BBC ALBA, 27/9/21, in Gaelic

Prinz Andrew, der 61-jährige Sohn der Queen wird vor einem Zivilgericht von Virginia Giuffre wegen sexuellen Mißbrauchs auf Entschädigung verklagt (10/8/21) in German

Some hospitality businesses in rural areas of Scotland like Oban are having to shut for one or two days a week because they can’t get enough staff. They blame Brexit in the first instance as there are fewer European workers available. BBC Reporting Scotland (15/7/21)

The language and way of life of the Sakha people of Siberia is under threat. One of the challenges is climate change which also threatens their identity (“An Là” on BBC ALBA, 18/11/20) in Gaelic

Illegal mining destroys Canaima World Heritage Site in Venezuela and threatens indigenous Pemon people (“An Là” on BBC ALBA, 31/8/20) in Gaelic

Portugal’s liberal drugs policy – Report on UK’s only European Current Affairs programme: Eòrpa (as broadcast on BBC ALBA in November 2018) in Gaelic

Indigenous tribes of Colombia fighting for their ancestral lands in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta endangered by mining. An Là News on BBC ALBA (20/07/20). Lockdown broadcasting: Created from Zoom interviews and User Generated Content in Gaelic

Harter Brexit, Covid 19 und schottische Unabhängigkeit. Mein Interview für “Europa Heute” im Deutschlandfunk (16.6.20) in German

Whisky enthusiasts from around the world donate to Islay Volunteer Network. They bring food and medicine to those self-isolating on the Hebridean island. Now distilleries have donated spirits to make hand-sanitiser. (2/4/20) in English

A new kind of video journalism due to Coronavirus: This report was made in the home office from my own archive shots, user generated content and interviews on the computer.

After the UK general election that gave the Conservatives a sweeping majority in England and an overwhelming majority to the SNP in Scotland the electoral map is blue south of and yellow north of the River Tweed. But is that the full story? (19/12/19) in English

Nach der “Brexitwahl:” Stehen schottische Unabhängigkeit und irische Wiedervereinigung vor der Tür? (13.12.19) in German

Die Schlagzeilen meines Beitrages zu einer Diskussionsrunde im Deutschlandfunk

Co-presenting “An Là,” the news on BBC ALBA at the opening of the Royal National Mòd, a week-long festival of Gaelic song, music and literature (11/10/19) in Gaelic

Hundreds of migrants are still sleeping rough in Paris despite a plea by President Macron to end rough sleeping last year. The short version of a report on the UK’s only European Current Affairs programme, Eòrpa, on BBC ALBA (22/11/18) in Gaelic

The effects of Brexit are already being felt in 2018 by one of Scotland’s sea food companies, Loch Fyne Oysters, which sells to many parts of Europe

in English, video journalism

Also see my 5-part series of news features on Brexit, Scottish Independence, the BBC’s impartiality and the international context for BBC ALBA here

Live coverage of the German general elections which returned seven parties to the Bundestag – more than ever before – including the AfD, a far-right party (25/9/17) “An Là” on BBC ALBA, in Gaelic

Interview im Hessischen Rundfunk über Brexit und Schottische Unabhängigkeit (17.3.17), in German

Copyright by hr-iNFO

Live interview after UK Prime Minister, Theresa May’s speech on her vision for Brexit (17/1/17), in English

Reporting the biggest Kayak Race in the UK including a piece-to-camera from a boat shot on an iPhone using a selfie stick (29/8/16) “An Là” on BBC ALBA

in Gaelic and English, video journalism

Live interview über Schottland und Brexit im Deutschlandfunk (27.6.16), in German

Schottische Unabhängigkeit ist denkbar

Live interview about the upcoming EU referendum in the UK on DW TV (20/6/16), in English

Live Interview über das Brexit Referendum für Deutsche Welle (20.6.16), in German

Live interview from a count of the Scottish Parliament Election, BBC 1 (6/5/16) in English

Live interview looking ahead at the Brexit referendum on whether the UK should remain in or leave the EU for DW TV (5/5/16),  in English

Investigation on care providers and anonymous allegations that some aren’t paying their staff the minimum wage, Reporting Scotland news, BBC1 (26/2/16)

video journalism, in English

A British citizen (Overseas) may be forced to leave Britain because her husband’s earnings are considered insufficient. But who will look after their boy, if she has to go back to Hong Kong and he runs a business? Reporting Scotland, BBC1 (1/2/16)

video journalism, in English

Reporting live on the aftermath of the Paris attacks from the Place de la Republique for BBC Radio Scotland

For my full account please click here.

Report on West Coast ferry strike for BBC 1 “Scotland 2015” (25/6/15)

video journalism, in English

Reporting live on the UK General Election result that brought a landslide victory to the Scottish National Party, BBC 1 Scotland (7/5/15) in English

A fatal plane crash near Loch Etive, Argyll, BBC News Channel (5/4/15)

video journalism, in English

Reporting live on the Scottish Independence Referendum, BBC 1 Scotland (19/9/14), in English

Preview of the Euro 2016 qualifying match Scotland-Germany in Dortmund. Could its outcome influence the independence referendum? An Là, BBC ALBA news (7/9/14) video journalism, in Gaelic

Reporting from Rome on the canonisation of the two Popes for BBC 1, Reporting Scotland (April 2014) in English

The late Jimmy Savile’s holiday cottage has been vandalised after allegations of sexual abuse, Reporting Scotland BBC 1 (28/10/12) (Most watched piece on BBC News on-line that day) 

video journalism, in English

On the state of the Gaelic language in Argyll, BBC Radio 4 Editor’s Pick of the Day (10/2/12) in English

Radio package for BBC Radio 4 on Argyll Gaelic. It became the editor’s pick of the day.

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Coisir Ghàidhlig Thaigh an Uillt/ Taynuilt Gaelic Choir

25 years since the Berlin Wall fell

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Anniversary celebrations at the Brandenburg Gate on 9th November 2014

It happened almost by mistake on 9th November 1989. The anniversary celebrations 25 years later at the Brandenburg Gate included a row of white balloons where the wall once stood. Pictures of them flying off into the sky went around the world.

In 2014 9th November was a Sunday and I went to Mass at St Hedwig Cathedral only a kilometre away. For the first time ever I heard the tune of the German national anthem played at Mass. It drove the tears to my eyes as I remembered the overwhelming joy everyone felt 25 years ago.

The Stasi never sang along

The peaceful revolution, as it is called, had its origins in the churches. I recently visited Gethsemane Church in East Berlin where thousands gathered in October 1989 just to get some information on the situation. The police never entered the churches although the infamous Stasi secret service did. A man who was there at the time told me they could tell who they were as they never sang along. Some people were beaten or arrested as they left though.

The outcome was indeed unknown and at one point there was an order to make use of firearms. But the general situation in Eastern Europe had changed. Hungary was the first country to open its border with Austria and tens of thousands of East Germans went through. The Soviet Union had also changed under Mikhail Gorbatshev. No help was to be expected to continue the oppression.

The Wall fell by accident

A new head of state came to power, which in itself was very unusual. Living in West Berlin I still didn’t even consider that the wall could fall. It had been there since before I was born. But on 9th November 1989 at a press conference a government minister read out a statement saying that travelling to the West would now be possible if people had the appropriate papers. He was asked when this would come into force and stumbled that this came into effect immediately.

At that point tens of thousands left for the border. The guards didn’t have any orders and phoned their superiors, but got no answer. At last they decided to open the gates. Not a single shot was fired.

Walter Momper was mayor of West Berlin in 1989


Walter Momper was mayor of West Berlin in 1989

Would they let me out again?

The opening of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin a few days before Christmas 25 years ago was another symbolic moment. In early November the iron curtain had fallen politically, but it was yet to be taken down physically. I was there on the day, when a crane lifted several pieces of concrete out of the wall to open a border crossing. There were huge crowds on either side. When they poured through the border guards could only step aside. I remember feeling slightly uneasy going through without a stamp in my passport. Would they let me out again?

The emotion was overwhelming though. I still have tears in my eyes thinking back. The wall which had cut my home town in two was finally tumbling. Only a few steps on the other side and a young East German lady came up to me and gave me kiss on the cheek. Such was the joy on both sides. I strolled up “Unter den Linden,” East Berlin’s main avenue, together with a friend of mine. In front of Humboldt University a group of French communists were trying to convert us to their cause. They couldn’t have picked a worse day.

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Only one block away from Unter den Linden German history is still omnipresent. Bullet holes from WWII and a much larger hole left in the row of houses by a bomb between a new-build and a restored house. Next to it is a house which hasn’t changed much since 1945.

When Germany commemorated the anniversary of the fall of the communist/ socialist regime in November 2014 I was back at the Gate. Michail Gorbatshev, the Soviet leader who started the political change in the East, was there, too, and warned of a new cold war.

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