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This Is What Scotland's New Pro-Independence Newspaper Looks Like

The National will be published all this week. If it sells enough copies then it'll be around for much longer.

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This is The National, the new pro-independence newspaper for Scotland which launched on Monday.

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The National, produced by the same team as the Sunday Herald, is a 50p tabloid designed to fill a gap in the market for a daily pro-independence newspaper in Scotland.

Although launching a new newspaper in 2014 may appear to be the decision of a mad man, there's a pretty strong business case for this. Although 45% of voters backed independence in September's referendum, the vast majority of the media either attempted to remain neutral or was openly pro-union.

The main exception to this rule was the Sunday Herald, whose relentlessly pro-independence coverage helped it boost sales by 111%. That's pretty impressive in a newspaper market where an annual sales decline of less than 10% is considered a success.

With many Yes supporters blaming "biased media coverage" for their defeat in the referendum, plus the post-referendum surge in SNP membership from 20,000 to almost 100,000, there's a lot of people who want political news geared to a nationalist viewpoint. Here's the plan: feed the beast, sell the newspapers, shape the narrative.

(It's worth noting that anti-nationalist media bias isn't a new complaint: in 1999 the SNP tried launching its own in-house daily newspaper to counteract bias.)

The National was officially unveiled on Saturday at a 12,000-strong political rally in Glasgow organised by the governing SNP party.

Dylan Martinez / Reuters

The newspaper has been launched by US media group Newsquest, which has given a skeleton staff based around the Sunday Herald team just five days to make it a success. If it sells well, then they'll keep it going.

Richard Walker, the Sunday Herald's editor took to the stage at Glasgow's Hydro venue and, according to the FT, urged the crowd to buy the newspaper to prove there is a market for "journalism that takes a passionate view and believes in Scotland's future".

The SNP has been urging its followers to buy the newspaper on Twitter.

The National: Scotland's new pro-Indy daily newspaper. Get your copy today or subscribe at http://t.co/hh4dz1CxMY

The SNP@theSNPFollow

The National: Scotland's new pro-Indy daily newspaper. Get your copy today or subscribe at http://t.co/hh4dz1CxMY

9:26 AM - 24 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

And Nicola Sturgeon, the new first minister, has chipped in.

Heading off to chair Cabinet in Edinburgh, @NicolaSturgeon has her copy of Scotland's newest newspaper @ScotNational

Peter Murrell@PeterMurrellFollow

Heading off to chair Cabinet in Edinburgh, @NicolaSturgeon has her copy of Scotland's newest newspaper @ScotNational

6:56 AM - 24 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Still, once through the paywall The National, is a slim but distinctive 32-page publication.

The National

The paper's editorial promises to "cogently argue the case for independence", while insisting it will not be a mouthpiece "of the Scottish National Party and the government it leads".

In the 15 page news section, BuzzFeed News counted 10 political stories. To put them into a rough categories, four were pro-SNP/independence in general; three were anti-Westminster government; two were reporting on Scottish Labour's struggles; and one was anti-Conservative party.

Meanwhile, the front page story on 60 charities calling for greater devolution of welfare powers (billed as an exclusive by "Staff Reporter") has many similarities with this SNP press release from early November.

Elsewhere, there's a piece analysing how real wages are falling for most Scots, a story on radical independence movements pledging to protect the NHS from privatisation, and an exclusive on Celtic allegedly failing to get involved a Scottish government taskforce to tackle sectarianism in football.

Most of the copy seems to have been written by a handful of freelance journalists, as opposed to existing Sunday Herald staff. (One of the journalists is credited on three consecutive stories as "James Maxwell", "Jamie Maxwell" and "Jamies Maxwell", which suggests a few early production issues.)

The National is not a paper for supporters of Scottish Labour.

The National

Labour comes off pretty badly throughout the paper. Positive stories about a broad, youthful nationalism movement are placed next to attacks on the old Labour politicians who used to dominate Scottish politics.

There's also a column by former socialist MSP Carolyn Leckie praising Nicola Sturgeon on gender inequality.

The National

She also insists the SNP government should consult with groups involved wider Yes movement on key issues.

Plus several pages for each of culture, business and sport.

The National

It's by no means a comprehensive read but these are early days. Four pages of world news – including a profile of Glasgow-educated Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani – consists largely of pieces taken from newswires. But there is also room for a piece on how Scots are fighting Ebola, which was also a story suggested by the pro-independence team trying to launch a new Scottish TV channel.

Early sales of the newspaper seem to be going very, very well.

Local newsagent in Newington - *Newington* - had sold 90 per cent of @ScotNational copies by 9am.

James Maxwell@jamesmaxwell86Follow

Local newsagent in Newington - *Newington* - had sold 90 per cent of @ScotNational copies by 9am.

9:37 AM - 24 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Soon as I walked into one newsagent this morning the lady said "Sorry Sold Out" - obviously knew what I was looking for @ScotNational

andrea@mrsgeldofFollow

Soon as I walked into one newsagent this morning the lady said "Sorry Sold Out" - obviously knew what I was looking for @ScotNational

11:01 AM - 24 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The @ScotNational sold out my local corner shop by 11am and in the minute I was there, 2 more people came in looking for it #TheNational

louisa@burdisthew0rdFollow

The @ScotNational sold out my local corner shop by 11am and in the minute I was there, 2 more people came in looking for it #TheNational

11:31 AM - 24 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

And among the Yes movement, buying the paper is a point of pride.

Everybody out to buy @ScotNational We can secure press diversity in Scotland through purchasing power

Pete Wishart@PeteWishartFollow

Everybody out to buy @ScotNational We can secure press diversity in Scotland through purchasing power

6:57 AM - 24 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The @ScotNational is only around for a week so if you are Indy minded, make sure you buy it this week to ensure it stays around longer!

Greg Hemphill@greghemphill69Follow

The @ScotNational is only around for a week so if you are Indy minded, make sure you buy it this week to ensure it stays around longer!

11:29 PM - 23 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Others outside Scotland are delighted that a new publication is sticking it to the elite.

A very special mention to @ScotNational who launch their first issue of a new paper for Scotland today. A real lesson for established media.

Dr Éoin Clarke@LabourEoinFollow

A very special mention to @ScotNational who launch their first issue of a new paper for Scotland today. A real lesson for established media.

12:22 AM - 24 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

And Yes supporters already want the BBC to give The National more coverage.

@BBCNews if you are not going to review @ScotNational in tonight's paper review why not? This is a new paper that speaks the TRUTH!

Arbroath1320@0604Arb1320Follow

@BBCNews if you are not going to review @ScotNational in tonight's paper review why not? This is a new paper that speaks the TRUTH!

9:32 AM - 24 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

If online reaction is to be believed, sales should easily justify the ongoing publication of The National.

With The Scotsman selling just under 30,000 copies a day and The Herald not doing much better, this new upstart publication run by a skeleton team could soon sell more copies than two of Scotland's most respected papers. It would achieve this largely because of what it represents, rather than necessarily what is contained within its pages.

That said, the team putting the paper together have made one glaring oversight.

So @ScotNational is the paper I'll buy daily, all it's lacking is a concise crossword to go with my cuppa tea there!

Iain Robertson@Robbo_IainFollow

So @ScotNational is the paper I'll buy daily, all it's lacking is a concise crossword to go with my cuppa tea there!

10:54 AM - 24 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Nothing angers a newspaper purchaser like the absence of a crossword.

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at jim.waterson@buzzfeed.com.

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