Strikes and the Media Communication in Conflict Author Nicholas Jones Published by Basil Blackwell 1986 ISBN 0-631-14697-0

A revolution has been taking place in the way communication operates within modern British industry. No journalist has followed the revolution more closely than Nicholas Jones whose regular reports for BBC Radio 4 have provided consistently lucid and balanced analysis.  In Strikes and the Media he examines the way the media are used by all sides in industrial disputes, and how their involvement in turn affects the course of events. The attitudes and behaviour of journalists have often been blamed for exacerbating already tense situations.

The 1984-5 miners' strike both witnessed the refinement of techniques used in previous disputes, and highlighted the paradoxical position of media coverage of strikes.  Arthur Scargill poured scorn on "this bunch of piranha fish", but showed extraordinary dexterity in using them to put across his message, while the National Coal Board used well-oiled public relations machinery and the government exerted behind-the-scenes pressure to add their own manipulation of the media. The tactics adopted are laid bare here, and their effectiveness (or otherwise) assessed.

Strikes and the Media shows clearly for the first time how far the battles of industry have moved away from the factory floor, the mass meeting and the negotiating table to the propaganda war in newspapers columns and TV news programmes.  It is a working journalist's report from the front line.


Nicholas Jones is labour correspondent for BBC Radio News. He has been a journalist for twenty-five years, a national radio news reporter since 1973, and has covered all the major industrial disputes of the last six years. He writes regularly for the Listener. Jones was named industrial journalist of the year for his reporting of the 1984-5 miners' strike in the 1986 Industrial Society awards for industrial journalism.