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.

23 Jan 2021
Reduced employment rights an unfolding Brexit casualty

When Conservative governments set about curtailing employment and trade union rights the route map for massaging public reaction follows tried and tested procedures.

Headline-grabbing objectives are floated in briefings to well-informed journalists, and then, amid a flurry of media interest, ministers row back from worst-case scenarios insisting that high standards in the UK will not be eroded.

Spin by GovernmentRead more...
04 Dec 2020
Blunders, fiascos, shambles: Boris Johnson living dangerously

Political honeymoons are often short lived, but few Prime Ministers have squandered media loyalty and support as rapidly and comprehensively as Boris Johnson.

Dominic Cummings' forced departure has paved the way for the launch in the New Year of White House-style televised briefings from Downing Street by Allegra Stratton, who is to become the new face of the government.

Spin by GovernmentRead more...
14 Sep 2020
English Channel crossings fuel immigration scare stories

Fears over immigration re-entered the list of voters’ top ten concerns in August – an all-too predictable response after weeks of inflammatory scare stories about ‘an invasion of illegal migrants’ arriving along the English Channel coast.

Alarmist coverage in newspapers such as the Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express encouraged broadcasters to follow suit.

Radio and television crews headed out [ ... ]

ArticlesRead more...
15 Jun 2020
Key role for a new generation of labour and industrial journalists

‘The unions are back’ declared The Guardian’s headline over an interview with the TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady in which she called on the government to establish a new consensus with the trade union movement to help restore the economy.

No wonder there was just a hint of grim satisfaction: a recognition that it had taken a national emergency and countless deaths to turn the clock back [ ... ]

Trade Union ReportingRead more...
15 Jun 2020
Teachers’ union leaders facing trial by tabloids

A vicious and highly personalised attack on teachers’ trade union leaders for daring to demand stricter safety conditions ahead of the phased re-opening of primary schools in England was another unpleasant reminder of the hateful coverage that has become so entrenched in much of daily press reporting.

Trade Union ReportingRead more...
13 May 2020
Tabloid press diverts attention from Conservatives' coronavirus failings

Amid the devastation of the coronavirus crisis and a looming economic catastrophe, Boris Johnson and his communication advisers remain wedded to media routines ill-suited to a national emergency.

Deeply entrenched in the Downing Street psyche is an addiction to manipulating the news agenda, a determination come what may to trail announcements in advance and grab the news agenda.

ArticlesRead more...
13 May 2020
Shielding Boris Johnson from hostile newspaper reporting

Rarely has a peacetime Prime Minister struggling with a national emergency been as fortunate as Boris Johnson in being spared the broad sweep of hostile coverage that proved so debilitating to his predecessors.

Johnson has been blessed with a personal story line tailor-made for the popular press – ‘From death to paternity’ (Daily Mail, 30.4.2020) – and Conservative newspapers have remained [ ... ]

Media EthicsRead more...
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