Citation Dekavalla M & Jelen-Sanchez A (2017) Whose voices are heard in the news? A study of sources in television coverage of the Scottish independence referendum. British Politics, 12 (4), pp. 449-472. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41293-016-0026-4
Abstract This article explores the prominence of different types of sources in the coverage of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum on BBC Scotland’s regional news bulletin. It combines the most commonly used classifications of news sources in the literature and proposes an integrated taxonomy, in which official, unofficial, elite and non-elite sources may take on news shaper or news maker roles. This taxonomy is used to analyse the referendum coverage on BBC’s Reporting Scotland in the final month of the campaign. Findings suggest that, despite the presence of many different types of sources, male-dominated political elites were the main focus in the news. We argue that, although the inclusion of some grassroots and citizen sources is encouraging, the coverage more broadly manifests a liberal democratic logic whereby the media represent the views of politicians and political organisations to the public, whose role is to make an informed choice between them with comparatively limited opportunities to participate in the mediated political debate.
Keywords Media sources; independence referendum; television; Scotland