Today’s editor’s picks focus on my favourite pieces from The Herald this week.

My top five; here we go.

In at number one is Andy Maciver’s comment piece on the UK and Scottish Covid inquiries. Balanced, informed and passionately written, he asks whether the inquiries will actually get to the bottom of the biggest question, he believes, needs to be answered: ‘Was lockdown right?’.

“So far, the inquiries have been more dominated by gossip and sniggering about bad language, in the case of the UK inquiry, and missing WhatsApp messages in the case of the Scottish inquiry,” he writes. He stresses the need for both inquiries, the need for the bereaved to be heard and have answers, but asks, calmly, at what cost to life was lockdown? You can watch more from Maciver here.

In my second spot is our ten-part video series from education writer James McEnaney. Here, McEnaney discusses complex education terminology or looks at issues impacting the industry right now. It is bold and confident journalism, engaging with our readers through video explainers, and another example of us working hard to do education differently.

The Herald: Education writer James McEnaney breaks down how differentiation functions in teaching
My third piece comes from Kevin McKenna who took to the streets of Dundee’s Kirkton following high-profile disruption and violence on Bonfire Night. It was not the first time the area had hit the headlines for disorder, so McKenna went to find out more. What is going on there? What wider societal issues are at play?

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The piece has been one of our top performers this week, and an example of our determination to get behind the headlines to explore stories further. “The neglect of communities such as these scream out from the annual statistics of generational government failure in the entirety of the devolved era,” writes McKenna, who spent the day with sports broadcaster Jim Spence who grew up in Kirkton. Detailed, passionate and informed journalism at its best.

In fourth place, offering something a little lighter and fun, is this piece from Craig Williams. Williams has an enviable, and consistent, knack for presenting me with offbeat and unusual exclusives, many of which are then picked up by media across the world. He is a real talent in our newsroom. This piece, detailing the story of an American man who has become an online sensation for his Gaelic teaching sessions, is another example. “So how did a man from Maine find himself in his present position of helping Gaelic reach future generations thanks to his hugely popular, dynamic and immersive online lessons?” asks Williams.

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My fifth and final pick comes from Catriona Stewart who, again, offered a lighter, human interest exclusive amid the intensity of much of the UK and world news this week. Although, there was nothing light for the man who accidentally set off the fire alarm at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall as the Royal National Scottish Orchestra was on the stage, prompting evacuation and the speedy arrival of the emergency services.

Enjoy your week and many thanks for reading. To support our work, please consider taking out a monthly or annual subscription. Three months of The Herald is on us for only £1 so join the conversation.

Catherine Salmond