ONE of the big drawbacks of covering major events on your doorstep is you often miss most of it.

So it was with the Commonwealth Games, where shift times and roles conspired to keep viewing and participating in the festivities to a minimum.

And so it has been with reporting on the referendum, too often a combination of set-piece events, statements and press conferences.

The Herald's series of articles on Battlegrounds, distinct areas across Scotland with their own political and social dynamics, have given us a snapshot of what has been happening on the ground away from the Glasgow-centric media bubble.

It has also provided a clear picture of how both campaigns have been run, a window into the tone, structure and mood of the camps.

The crucial difference? Yes clearly felt more organic, confident, open. A request to a local campaign organiser was always facilitated. The only issue was where and when you wanted it.

MSPs provided unfettered access. Yes leaders did not intrude upon you speaking to voters on doorsteps once they had said their piece, volunteers were trusted to speak to you without supervision.

One colleague asked to chum along Labour, the main party in Better Together in the area. A call was made to the local MP, a significant player in the party in Scotland.

"I'll need to check with some others that we're comfortable with you coming along", the MP said:

"But you're at the top of the local pinnacle, you call the shots", my colleague replied.

"There's others I need to check with."

In the end we interviewed some party loyalists, facilitated by the MP. It was OK but hardly the spontaneous reaction to a well-kent face on a doorstep days before the referendum.

On another occasion, Labour friends of the paper, people journalists have built up trust and rapport with over the years, were more than happy to allow us to tag along.

When it came to finalising the finer details of a rendezvous point, the call came back: "Sorry, some in the team just don't fancy it."

Someone higher up had clearly said 'No'. MSPs have also not had the clout to simply say "hop along".

Overseas journalists have long talked of difficulties when they have been out and about with the Better Together campaign. That's maybe a practical issue. Fact is No have had trouble with numbers on the ground.

They have often had to be much more localised in the areas they target due to feet on the street issues.

Those knocking on doors have usually been local councillors or people who work or rely on their connections with the party.

Yes canvassers have been connected with several parties and none were door-knocking rookies. It would be easy to paint a picture of some 1960s-inspired, spontaneous movement which actually has at its heart the well-oiled machine of the SNP.

But it has felt different. Similarly, the problems of No have already been long-played out.

But amid pledges to change, that clunking top-down fist seems still very much in control.