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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds Thank you for taking time to speak to me today. Can I confirm your details first for the record? Can I have your name, please? Yes, it’s Lachlan MacKinnon. And your title? I’m the Emergency Services Communications Coordinator for Scotland. Obviously you may be aware that power has been out across parts of Glasgow. What do the police currently think the problem is? Well we’re obviously dealing with a number of reports, and we are investigating each of those. At this stage, the inquiries an ongoing. OK. How many incidents have you had to deal with or are dealing with? Well we’re dealing now with hundreds of instances at the moment. Obviously we have our normal, day-to-day reports that we’re dealing with.

Skip to 0 minutes and 57 seconds And we would expect to receive hundreds of reports each day. But we are dealing with hundreds of additional reports of incidents above and beyond what we would normally expect. Can you give an exact number for number of scenarios?

Skip to 1 minute and 17 seconds As you’ll appreciate, it’s an ongoing situation. However, at the last count, approximately half an hour ago, we were dealing with 950 reports. And can you give us some examples of some scenarios you’ve been dealing with? The vast majority are of a fairly low scale. Obviously of huge inconvenience to the public, however the types of incident we’re dealing with are primarily related to power outages. And that is obviously affecting businesses, hospitals, public services, universities, as well as private businesses and private individuals. It’s obviously a massive inconvenience to people when they’re losing power.

Skip to 2 minutes and 12 seconds At this stage it is coming back on fairly quickly, but we do appreciate the losses of data and people were using computers, so we’re aware of the inconvenience this is causing. So what are the police and your colleagues with the other emergency services doing to get to the root of the problem at the moment? We are working very closely with the paramedics and the fire services and sharing information in order to allow us to follow up lines of inquiry. OK. Just as a close up here, is there anything you’d like to clarify that we have discussed to ensure that no errors are included in this interview?

Skip to 2 minutes and 59 seconds No, however I would like to make a personal plea that if you’re able to convey our thanks to our staff and to the public for their patience and forbearance through this difficult time, that would be appreciated.

Skip to 3 minutes and 18 seconds And just for the record and to ensure there’s no sullied– unavoidable mistakes, can you confirm your name and your title for me, please? I’m Doctor Murray Lough and I’m a general practitioner in Airdrie Health Centre. And how did you spell your name? L-O-U-G-H. And Murray? M-U-R-R-A-Y. OK, thank you very much. If at any point during the interview you’d like to clarify some point, just feel free to drop it into the conversation or wait until the end. It’s better than a mistake pass through into the public domain and afterwards. OK so, power outages have hit Glasgow, about the west.

Skip to 3 minutes and 54 seconds When were you first aware of the problem? The first thing that we were aware of was when the computer goes down. Because as soon as that happens, everything goes down as far as we’re concerned. We’re so reliant on the computer now. And when that goes out, which it does do from time to time, it was a reminder that we– there’s something wrong, and we went through to the manager to sort, to try and find out what she knew. And she hadn’t a clue, because the whole place was down. So in practical terms, does that mean the computer just goes dark? Like that. Black. Yeah. And how have the problems affected you personally as a GP?

Skip to 4 minutes and 32 seconds Well the power’s been out now for a wee while, and we can do virtually nothing. We can still see people, but we’ve got no background other than what we know of them, and the difficulty there is that you can– in relying on your memory, make mistakes. You can end up giving the wrong person with a similar name the wrong thing. So we basically do nothing. We can do nothing, and we choose to do nothing. So when you see these power problems starting, your heart sinks because you literally are powerless. And how have the problems affected your patients? Well, they’re worried. They come in here, they’re expecting to see their doctor, and nothing will be done.

Skip to 5 minutes and 11 seconds But they’re probably already aware outside that things– we can hear sirens, you can see trouble outside, and I don’t know what’s going on, probably nobody knows what’s going on, and they want to know what’s going on. So yeah, it’s quite scary. And how have they been reacting? Are they angry, scared depressed, frightened, confrontational, bemused? Well, and all of the above. I mean, everybody reacts the way that they would under unexpected circumstances. And for some it’s about rushing home, and for others it’s about asking if people like ourselves have heard what’s going on. But virtually everybody is now concerned. It’s been dark now, the power’s been off for a wee while, and nobody’s come up with any answers. So it’s difficult.

Skip to 5 minutes and 59 seconds What is the worst-case scenario for your surgery and your patients? I mean, could someone die? Theoretically, yes. The worst-case scenario is that somebody with chest pain tried to come here turns round and tries to go to casualty, there’s no transport, there’s no way of getting down there, and they are in as bad a position as we are. And of course you rely on electronics at all variety of levels to literally sometimes save lives. So in theory, people could die. But obviously it depends how long this goes on for. But you have not had any reports of that so far? No.

Skip to 6 minutes and 32 seconds OK. Just for the record to ensure there’s no errors, can I just ask your name, please? It’s Graham Forbes. Graham, how do you spell that? G-R-A-H-A-M. And just Forbes normally? Forbes, yeah. What age are you, Graham? I’m 27. And where are you from? Glasgow. And what’s your job title? Where do you work? I’m a marketing officer. What does that mean? Well it means that I market different materials, different graphics for a company in Glasgow. We’re talking about the power outage. So what happened in your work? Well as I mentioned, there were a few blips yesterday, and things like the photocopier going out, screens, the computer screens going out, too. But today there was a more sustained power outage.

Skip to 7 minutes and 21 seconds It was a case of maybe an hour or so. And when did you first notice the issues occurring? Well it didn’t affect me personally yesterday, it affected a few other colleagues. And then today, yeah, everybody’s computer was off. So. The screen would literally just go black? Just go black, yeah. And did you contact IT? Were they able to do anything? Yeah, we contacted IT. We’ve got our own kind of dedicated IT guy. But he was nonplussed. He was– he didn’t really know what was going on. So what impact has this had on your job? and how important are computers for your job?

Skip to 7 minutes and 57 seconds Well given the fact we work– it’s a marketing company I work for, I mean, yeah, email, telephone– pretty basic idea, but they’re pretty integral to what we do. And especially the graphics work that we do as well, I mean some guys lost a fair bit of work on that.

Skip to 8 minutes and 15 seconds Will you be getting paid for any of your lost time? I hope so. The idea is that– Or your managers haven’t said anything to you? They’ve not disclosed anything yet. Today actually we were sent home. We were sent home and asked to do any work that we could do at home. What did they say to you? They said they didn’t know what was going on. They said that obviously with a few contracts we’ve got just now that need to be done, that we can– if we can, do what we can at home. And what was the reaction of the workers to that? They were a bit surprised. It’s a bit of a bizarre situation to be in.

Skip to 8 minutes and 47 seconds But obviously a day like this, I don’t think they were– too displeased. So a few people may have been happy? Yeah, I dare say. So there’s no chance that maybe there was a bit of sabotage in the work? Well I mean for me personally, I don’t really have an idea as to what’s going on. Although there is one conspiracy theorist guy who seems to think they’re deliberate, but yeah. And what does he– what reasons does he have for that? I don’t know. I don’t know what he’s basing his evidence on.

Skip to 9 minutes and 17 seconds Could I have your name, please? It’s Nichola Johnstone. Nichola Johnstone. And how is it your spell your surname? J-O-H-N-S-T-O-N-E. And can I just have your age? 27. And are you from Glasgow? Are you local? Cathcart. So quite local. And you said earlier that you have two children, is that correct? That’s right. One’s 2 and one’s 5. Two boys. Two boys. And could you state their names for the record? Chris is the 2-year-old, and Michael, his brother. Chris, is that just with a C? A C, yeah. Now you were saying to me, the power cuts have affected you. Can you just describe how they have affected you?

Skip to 9 minutes and 56 seconds Well the kids were watching their favourite cartoons, so they were both upset when they just suddenly stopped. So we had to find something else for them to do. So the screen just went blank, is that right? Yeah, everything just went off. I had the washing on, so that was gone.

Skip to 10 minutes and 13 seconds Had something in the oven, as well, for dinner, and that’s ruined. So I need to go and buy more food, something cold. So it’s not really been the best day. I was working on a report for for university, I’m a student, just now. And I don’t know if that’s gone or backed up, so. So your computers are down as well? Computer’s down, yeah. This outage has hit many places in the city. Are you scared? Are you worried about this? Maybe tonight when it’s dark, but just now it’s pretty bright, I think it should be all right. Are you expecting the problems to get fixed soon? Well I hope so, that’s what they’re paid for.

Skip to 10 minutes and 49 seconds So hopefully they’ll do their job and fix it as soon as they can. Have you seen any power workers out at all? No. But hopefully they’ll be here soon, I suppose. Is that terrible– is that a scandal that you haven’t seen any power workers anywhere? I suppose now you mention it, there maybe should be some around. I don’t know how it works, if that’s how they fix it.

The Blackout: interviews with sources

Watch these four interviews conducted with sources affected by ‘The Blackout’.

How relevant are these sources in regard to deriving necessary information? How successful were the interviews? Could the questioning have been improved? Post your thoughts in the comments area.

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Introduction to Journalism

University of Strathclyde