The Ferret Investigates - Who Runs Scotland?

by The Ferret Media in Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Total raised £6,370

£10,000 target 7 days left
63% 142 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 3rd June 2024 at 6:53pm

As we approach the general election, The Ferret is delving into the heart of Scotland's power dynamics through a series of investigations.

by The Ferret Media in Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Have you ever wondered who really runs Scotland? 


You elected the politicians and trusted them to steer the ship – keeping the Scottish economy working, the health service running, ensuring justice is served, schools, colleges and universities excel and the environment is protected.


But who are the people with power and influence behind the scenes? What are the networks with special privileges and who is using the back door to influence the government by lobbying? How do resources get managed, and to what extent does big business play a role? Are power levers being pulled from beyond Scotland, whether in Westminster or overseas?


In 2021, The Ferret unravelled these questions in our acclaimed ‘Who Runs Scotland’ series, probing lobbying activities directed at the Scottish and UK Governments. We exposed the foreign ownership of vital Scottish industries and untangled the intricate web of the country's quango class. This series didn't just set the agenda; it prompted questions in the Scottish Parliament, featured in prominent media outlets, and sparked debates in civil society. Its impact earned recognition with an award at the 2022 Scottish Press Awards.

As a general election looms, with Labour eyeing succession and the SNP facing the prospect of losing seats, we're gearing up for an eventful year politically and we want to make ‘Who Runs Scotland’ a major part of our plans.

This time, our mission is to shine a light on the forces shaping Scotland where it matters most: from the justice system to education, and from environmental protection to the arts.

But to do so, we need your help. 


Why The Ferret?


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Our small and dedicated team has the expertise to take this on. Our investigative work has already earned multiple awards and yielded significant real-life impact. We know how to handle big data, navigate complex financial structures, and work with sources to ensure they are always protected. We also have the experience that helps us connect the dots.

Crucially, The Ferret is a media co-op. That means we don’t have shareholders breathing down our necks or trying to influence our coverage from afar. Our members are our owners. We don't carry advertising either, ensuring we are free to investigate whether the story takes us, without fear or favour.


Where do I come in?


The Ferret is all about producing journalism in the public interest. But funding is anything but easy to come by.

We’re lucky to have part of our work supported by our members and grants. But we currently don’t have the resources to look at this topic. Your support can make all the difference in enabling us to pursue this investigation.

From a free donation to snagging a lovely Ferret notebook, there are many ways in which you can contribute. If money is tight, you can help by spreading the word or subscribing to our free newsletter, The Ferret Underground.


Where is my money going?


£20 Donation

Bag yourself a Ferret tote, complete with a Ferret pen inside. Plus, your contribution will fund one hour of our investigative work, helping us uncover stories that matter.

“Time meeting sources, getting fully briefed on issues and making sure all of our investigations are fully focussed from the start is key. From there, we can make sure our freedom of information requests are aimed right at the target, getting us access to the information we need."

£35 Donation

Indulge in your future cuppas with a Ferret mug, and support nearly two hours of our work. In the words of our resident data journalist, Petra Matijevic:

"In roughly two hours, I can dive into various tasks, like drawing network graphs revealing connections between government officials and private organisations, combing through ministerial meeting records, or analysing the lobbying register to identify top lobbyists."

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£50 Donation

Take home a Ferret notebook, and help us transform complex data into compelling narratives about modern Scotland. As our environmental reporter, Paul Dobson, explained:

“In the last year our unique data skills have helped us uncover key details about a range of topics: from the sewage scandal to period poverty, oil spills to the crisis in GP waiting times.

£50 can pay for two and a half hours of a Ferret’s work, enough to help us identify data sources and the key trends within them. This is the first step on the road to producing many of our agenda-setting stories.”

£70 Donation

Unlock a year of unlimited access to all our stories with a £70 donation. Not only will you enjoy free reading for a year, but your support will also allow us to allocate time to conducting an insightful interview for Scotland's first Fact Checking Service.


£140 Donation

Gain access to a year's worth of our stories while contributing to information access by donating £140. With your generous support, you'll receive a Yearly Membership to The Ferret for yourself and cover a Sponsored Membership, allowing students or anybody struggling to read our journalism.

Your contribution will also bolster our fieldwork efforts, as explained by our reporter and journalist director, Jamie Mann:

“For £140 I could spend a day visiting a different part of Scotland and meeting local residents to better understand how important issues actually affect people’s lives, as well as the solutions they’ve come up with to help tackle them. 

As part of The Ferret’s island depopulation series, I was able to spend time on the ground in Orkney and Bute and learn about the different factors that have caused some island populations to shrink, and others to grow.”


£500 Donation

Make a lasting impact with a £500 donation, securing a Lifetime Membership to The Ferret and acknowledgement of your support with your name displayed on our website.

Your generous donation will significantly contribute to our impactful work, recognising the time and dedication required for investigative journalism. As Ferret co-editor Billy Briggs remarked:

"If you look at our recent investigation, Scotland's Secret Owners, it had 11 articles. Those investigations took a team of 7 journalists roughly 14 weeks to produce.

Once published, it reached over 650k people on social media and was read over 15,000 times on our website."


Our work would not be possible without the support of our readers. Thanks to supporters like you, we've made impactful investigations in the past. Donate to our crowdfunding campaign today and we’ll reveal the power players and the influencers shaping Scotland’s future.

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£140 or more

Ferret Gold Membership and a Plus One Membership

A gold membership to The Ferret and a free standard membership for your plus one. Gain access to a year's worth of our stories while contributing to information access by donating £140. With your generous support, you'll receive a yearly membership to The Ferret for yourself and cover a Sponsored Membership, allowing students or anybody struggling to read our journalism.

£20 or more

10 of 30 claimed

Ferret Tote Bag and Pen Reward

Bag yourself a Ferret tote, complete with a Ferret pen inside. Plus, your contribution will fund one hour of our investigative work, helping us uncover stories that matter.

£35 or more

17 of 20 claimed

Ferret Mug Reward

A limited edition mug with The Ferret's logo and our tagline 'Good journalism changes things.' Indulge in your future cuppas with a Ferret mug, and support two hours of our work. In the words of our data journalist, Petra Matijevic: "In roughly two hours, I can dive into various tasks, like drawing network graphs revealing connections between government officials and private organisations, combing through ministerial meeting records."

£50 or more

5 of 20 claimed

Ferret Notebook Reward

Take home a Ferret notebook, and help us transform complex data into compelling narratives about modern Scotland. As our environmental reporter, Paul Dobson, explained: “In the last year our unique data skills have helped us uncover key details about a range of topics: from the sewage scandal to period poverty, oil spills to the crisis in GP waiting times. £50 can pay for us to identify data sources and the key trends within them."

£70 or more

One Year Free Membership to The Ferret

A full subscription to The Ferret for one year, for free. Unlock a year of unlimited access to all our stories with a £70 donation. Not only will you enjoy free reading for a year, but your support will also allow us to allocate time to conducting an insightful interview for our fact-checking podcast, For Fact's Sake.

£500 or more

Lifetime Membership & Named Supporter Reward

Make a lasting impact with a £500 donation, securing a lifetime membership to The Ferret and your name displayed on our website. Your generous donation will recognise the time and dedication required for investigative journalism. As Ferret co-editor Billy Briggs remarked:"If you look at our recent investigation, Scotland's Secret Owners, it had 11 articles. Those investigations took a team of 7 journalists 14 weeks to produce."

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