Nicholas Jones - Blog and Archive Website

Nicholas JonesA journalist of fifty years standing offers a personal and independent assessment of the often troubled relationship between public figures and the British news media.

My aim is to try to monitor events and issues affecting the ethics of journalism and the latest developments in the rapidly-changing world of press, television, radio and the Internet.

Expect too an insight into the black arts of media manipulation. So spin-doctors, Beware!

A journalist of fifty years standing offers a personal and independent assessment of the often troubled relationship between public figures and the British news media.

03 Feb 2019
Talk of “Bribes” for pro-Brexit Labour MPs harks back to demise of coal industry

The sight of Labour MPs from former mining constituencies expressing a readiness to accept cash for their localities in return for a vote in favour of Brexit is a haunting reminder of how easily the Conservatives bought off miners in the past.

Offers of ever-higher redundancy payments enticed many miners back to work during the 1984-85 pit strike, and finally it was these cash incentives that helped secure Margaret Thatcher the victory she craved.

Almost a decade later, when Michael Heseltine pushed through the massive 1992 pit closure programme, he was convinced the £1 billion he had secured for redundancy pay-offs would again prove irresistible – and he was proved correct.

Once again, we see how the offer of Conservative cash – this time for investment within their constituencies – [ ... ]

Trade Union ReportingRead more...
03 Feb 2019
Promising to halve net immigration helped re-brand Conservatives as pro-Brexit

David Cameron’s 2010 pre-election pledge to cut immigration by the “tens of thousands” had the unintended, but perhaps inevitable, long-term consequence of stiffening opposition to the European Union within the Conservative Party, and of supercharging the Leave vote in the 2016 EU Referendum.

By putting a figure on his promise, Cameron created a yardstick against which he would be held to account, [ ... ]

Election CampaignsRead more...
18 Jan 2019
Broadcasters’ Brexit challenge: find more representative Vox Pops

Just as MPs are having to shoulder an unprecedented responsibility following Theresa May’s historic Brexit defeat, broadcasters should rise to the challenge and find a more informative and representative way to test local opinion.

News coverage in the immediate aftermath of the crushing rejection of May’s EU withdrawal agreement displayed yet again all the faults of the tired and repetitive formula [ ... ]

BroadcastingRead more...
03 Oct 2018
Dire predictions about backlash from Brexit-supporting newspapers

The role of the British press in campaigning to swing the Brexit vote – and the failure of broadcasters to hold either Remain or Leave to account – dominated a conference in London organised by the Association of European Journalists.

An array of tabloid front pages – including the Daily Mail’s “Enemies of the People” and more recently, the Sun’s “EU Dirty Rats” headline after the [ ... ]

ArticlesRead more...
03 Oct 2018
Once a journalist always a journalist

Nicholas Jones reflected on almost sixty years in journalism in a lecture for the Old Tettenhallians (27.9.2018). He left school in the summer of 1959 at the age of sixteen. He admitted being a slow learner, having secured only four GCE ‘O’ level passes, insufficient to get into the sixth form to do ‘A’ levels. Back in the 1960s, in the post-war boom years, there were plenty of jobs for young [ ... ]

ArticlesRead more...
03 Oct 2018
Journalists’ Charity: closure of care home at Dorking

A unanimous vote by the trustees to close our care home was a gut-wrenching moment, given my 17-year association with the admirable work of the Journalists’ Charity in housing and assisting retired and needy journalists.

For generations of reporters and sub-editors, in newsrooms up and down the country, there was always the re-assurance that if they fell off their perch and hit hard times in old [ ... ]

Journalists’ CharityRead more...
20 Jun 2018
Broadcasters urged to focus on EU exit: stop harking back to Brexit dogfight

Broadcasters – and especially those at the BBC – are being urged by the campaigner Gina Miller to refrain from harking back to the Leave and Remain arguments of two years ago and to focus instead on the process of the UK exiting the European Union.

In her view, there was still much too much reporting of a sterile Brexit debate that was still dominated by lies and untruths and too little reporting [ ... ]

European JournalismRead more...
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