JULIE McDOWALL looks at some of the indie alternatives to mainstream TV coverage of Scottish politics

The referendum campaign was about people power: activism, rallies, meetings, protests and online debate.

Inevitably, much of that will fade as we get back to normal, but several groups are dedicated to keeping support going for the next election, the next referendum.

Some, though, are taking action in a different way and it has little to do with balloons and banners. A stall on the corner might reach the street, and a chap on the door will reach the household, but when it comes to projecting a message further, you need the media.

When James Devoy and Jack Foster worked together on the online film documentary Scotland Yet, they became aware of what they called 'deficiencies' in the media, particularly in TV news.

Without national TV news from a Scottish perspective, says James, 'there's no way for Scotland to respond to what it feels is important. That showed in how the BBC covered the referendum.

'In Scotland, people would talk about it then tune into the Six O'Clock News and it just wouldn't be there. It's as much our nightly news as anyone else's, so why are we being ignored?' he asks.

'Being ignored makes people angry and that doesn't help democracy if people are so angry that accusations are flying and getting in the way of real conversations.'

Foster sums up what he sees as the straitened circumstance of TV news in Scotland by explaining that, if something major happens, the Scottish papers can run with it but TV news can't.

'They have to just ignore it, saying that'll be covered in the big bit before us. Meanwhile Obama has said something earth-shattering but no-one in a Scottish studio is allowed to tell you about it.'

Devoy and Foster's frustration bubbled over in the form of brilliant bursts of satire on YouTube: they created Dateline Scotland, a satirical news show mocking a Scottish news which doesn't exist.

For some, the main complaint about BBC news during the referendum wasn't the breadth of coverage, but alleged bias. However, Foster says neither of them saw the BBC as biased during the referendum. 'You wouldn't catch us protesting outside the BBC. Calling it 'bias' is overly simplistic.'

Devoy agrees. 'The label was wrong: it wasn't 'bias'. Instead, there should have been a campaign about the BBC ignoring us.'

So if the BBC is ignoring your interests, where do you go for news? Foster says 'people are now going online and getting stuff from different sources and comparing them. Twenty years ago you would read a paper every day then, in the evening, you'd watch the news and that'd be it.

'You'd have two news sources and you'd take them for granted, but now huge amounts of people can read news stories from five or six different sources and piece them together and see the common threads. It's like they're doing journalism themselves at a micro level.'

People are increasingly turning to social media, blogs and YouTube to seek a counterbalance to what TV news is giving them.

Devoy says when the BBC talk of 'balance' they simply mean having two opponents in a studio arguing. He refers to John Oliver's dissection of how TV presents the climate change argument: 97% of scientists believe it exists and 3% don't. A TV climate change debate would have one person from each side but 'if you want real balance then, for every 97 stories about climate change, do three on how it's not real. That's genuine balance.

'It's like saying I've got a Ku Klux Klan guy in the studio and also Martin Luther King. One of them's right, one of them's evil. Which one is it?'

The team at Referendum TV are also weary of the BBC's odd notions of balance. They started life with referendum discussion shows at Hill Street Theatre during the Fringe in August but then moved on to YouTube.

Linda Graham shares the same desire as Devoy and Foster for a less combative style of news. 'What I didn't want was a 'he said, she said' argument, or someone just trying to get a quick soundbite.

'This is what we usually get on the news and it's so formulaic and so lame. Nick Robinson is the classic case: the politician stands up and makes a speech and they just give you a five second clip but then you get 10 minutes of Robinson telling you what was said. I'd rather just hear it myself and make my own mind up but we don't get the chance.'

Graham says the idea behind Referendum TV is to give people space to talk and for the audience to hear them in full, uninterrupted, unfiltered sentences. There will be balance, not combat.

However, her colleague, Kevin Robertson, is more concerned with bias and says Scottish broadcast news desperately needs neutrality.

'I used to be a football referee, although I'm retired now,' he says. 'I'm used to being neutral. When I watch football games and look for bias I look for what's not being done. That's the subtle way to do it.' He says this was how BBC bias manifested itself during the indyref campaign. 'It was more by omission than commission. There were egregious omissions.'

Referendum TV seeks to address these concerns via their political discussion shows, currently on YouTube, but they're aiming to relaunch with a satellite channel where they will branch out beyond politics into arts programming.

As for Devoy and Foster, Dateline Scotland ended with the referendum and they're now creating an online live news programme which will go out each night.

Foster says: 'We have no interest in setting up a partisan or pro-independence news programme. We are of the opinion that you can trust people and if you present them with genuinely neutral news they're quite capable of working out what's going on and who the bad guys are.'

They're currently crowd-funding and the response has been impressive. They hit their £10k target within three hours and, at time of writing, it has passed £34k.

The next few months will be spent looking for more investment and putting together a team of journalists. 'That's one thing we have absolutely no doubt about,' says Foster. 'There will be plenty of journalists who'll be keen to be a part of it.'

The portents for their venture are positive, looking back to the debate about the Scottish Six, where surveys at the time showed 70% to be in favour of a Scottish news show which stood alone, not tagged on to the end of the 'real' news. The SNP detected this desire too, in their plans for the Scottish Broadcasting Service.

But whilst we've all heard of Jackie Bird, it's fair to say Foster and Devoy are not household names. Although Dateline Scotland gathered thousands of loyal fans online, the audience wasn't huge, so some might ask who do these chaps think they are? What makes them, or Referendum TV, think they can take on the massive challenge of creating new broadcast news for Scotland? Why them?

Devoy says: 'We've proved we can do TV with Dateline Scotland but the other reason is simply that we're the guys who said we'd do it. It's not an egotistical thing. We're just the guys who stood up.'

Foster agrees, saying that the mystery surrounding TV news has to be stripped away. A TV studio is just a workplace, he says. Presenters are just people.'Jackie Bird is just a woman sitting at a desk reading!'