The Scotsman Sessions in running for top UK press 'innovation' award

The Scotsman has been shortlisted in the Innovation of the Year category at the British Journalism Awards for The Scotsman Sessions - a series of video performances recorded by Scottish artists during the coronavirus pandemic and released on scotsman.com, with introductions written by Scotsman critics.

Just a few of the artists who have performed Scotsman Sessions
Just a few of the artists who have performed Scotsman Sessions

Organised and run by the Press Gazette, the British Journalism Awards saw record levels of participation this year. Some 80 judges spent three weeks sifting through more than 800 entries to come up with the shortlists for each award category.

Due to coronavirus restrictions, the winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony on the afternoon of 9 December.

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Also shortlisted for the Innovation award are the BBC, the Financial Times, the Telegraph, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the multimedia messaging app Snapchat.

The Scotsman Sessions began in March, when theatres and music venues were forced to shut down. With no live performances to review, The Scotsman's arts team switched to inviting artists stuck at home during lockdown to record short video performances, for which they were paid a modest fee.

The first four videos were released on scotsman.com on Friday 20 March, alongside text introductions written by Scotsman critics, and there have now been more than 140, featuring musicians, actors, comedians, dancers and poets from all around the country.

Scotsman arts editor Roger Cox said: "The Scotsman Sessions have been a huge team effort. Our writers adapted brilliantly and very swiftly to a completely different way of working, Andy O'Brien, our head of AV, has done an incredible job of editing and uploading all the films, and Sharon Kirk in our accounts department moved heaven and earth to streamline the payments process for us so we could get payments to artists more efficiently and with less paperwork.

"The stars of the show, though, have obviously been the artists themselves, and we'd like to say a huge thank-you to everyone who's taken part so far. Whatever happens on December 9, the sessions show what a hugely talented and diverse artistic community we have here in Scotland; and hopefully, sometime in 2021, we'll be able to see all these performers back on stage again, where they belong."

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