Nicholas Jones - Blog and Archive Website
Journalists are addicted to the blame game. The priority is to work out who is to blame and who should say “sorry”.  Personality-led stories attempting to hold public figures to account are the easiest to write. But journalists should be on their guard: political spin doctors and the public relations industry are showing ever greater sophistication in managing the personalisation of news and turning the “S” word to their clients’ advantage.  In a speech to the annual conference of the Institute of Communication Ethics (Coventry University, 28.10.2009) , Nicholas Jones explored the ethics of saying “sorry” and the part of apologies play in the   hyper-personalisation of political coverage.

What makes the scandal surrounding MPs’ expenses so extraordinary is that it resulted from politicians acting collectively to deceive the public. It was that collective betrayal by elected representatives which explains the depth of public anger. Nicholas Jones was one of the speakers at a debate at the House of Commons organised by the Commonwealth Journalists Association on the question: “What price good governance?” (26.10.2009)

Media scrutiny is the only effective means of forcing politicians to tell the truth. This was the argument put forward by journalists in a debate at the Oxford Union (22.10.2009). The motion was that this house trusts politicians more than journalists. Jones spoke for the journalists.

Media standards groups which are opposed to product placement on British television programmes will get the chance to offer advice on possible safeguards.Sion Simon, a junior minister at the Department of Media, Culture and Sport, told a delegation from the Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom (6.10.2009) that the government was anxious to help the industry. Ministers supported product placement because they believed it would give “immediate cash benefits” to struggling television companies.

The promise by Sir Michael Lyons, Chairman of the BBC Trust, to speed up the Corporation’s internal inquiry into how far the BBC needs to be reshaped to meet the digital age is a welcome dose of reality. More is the pity that the management left it so late -- until the combined forces of James Murdoch and the Conservative Party were on the war path, breathing down the BBC’s neck.