News reports

A selection of stories from Scotland and Europe

Reports marked “video journalism” were researched, shot and edited by myself

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, 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) 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) on BBC ALBA, in Gaelic and English, video journalism

Live interview über Schottland und Brexit im Deutschlandfunk (27/6/16), auf Deutsch

Schottische Unabhängigkeit ist denkbar

Live interview about the upcoming EU referendum in the UK on Deutsche Welle, the German world service (20/6/16), in English

Live Interview über das Brexit Referendum für Deutsche Welle (20/6/16), auf Deutsch

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 (5/5/16),  in English

Interview for German world service Deutsche Welle

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

A British citizen (Overseas) may be forced to leave Britain, Reporting Scotland, BBC1 (1/2/16) video journalism

Despite being married to a Scot, Alice may have to leave 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 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

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

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

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

Preview of Euro 2016 qualifying match Scotland-Germany in Dortmund on An Là, BBC ALBA news (7/9/14) video journalism

Shortly before the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014. Scottish fans and German public give their views.

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

The late Jimmy Savile’s holiday cottage vandalised, Reporting Scotland BBC 1 (28/10/12) video journalism, Most watched piece on BBC News on-line that day

A large number of allegations of sex abuse were made against the deceased celebrity presenter.

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

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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BBC Correspondent, Scotland Broadcast languages: ENGLISH, GERMAN, SPANISH, SCOTS GAELIC Interview languages: PORTUGUESE, FRENCH, ITALIAN, RUSSIAN ————— TV Journalism Lecturer at EDINBURGH NAPIER UNI, Religious Correspondent, Travel Photographer

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