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'If only...’ Some soul-searching over the 1984–5 miners’ strike

Nicholas Jones, former BBC industrial and political correspondent

Date/Time: 11th March 2014

Nicholas Jones reflects on the government misinformation and media manipulation that provided the backdrop to Britain’s longest and most violent industrial dispute. Much of the newspaper and television coverage of the 1984-5 1984-5 miners’ strike, especially over the Battle of Orgreave and the pit-head clashes in mining villages, was in wide shot. Press photographers and television camera crews were not welcomed either by the pickets or the police and there were very few close-up images.

Thirty years later social media including Facebook, You Tube and Twitter have transformed the coverage of public order events. Nicholas Jones suggests that the Police forces of today know that instant reporting on social media has become a great restraining influence on their conduct. He also offers some insights into both his reporting of the strike for the BBC and his own soul searching about the media’s role in the dispute.

Speaker biography

Nicholas Jones was a BBC industrial and political correspondent for thirty years. He reported the big industrial disputes of the Thatcher decade for BBC Radio and was named industrial journalist of the year for his coverage of the 1984-5 miners’ strike.

The news media’s role in the conflict, which prompted his first book, Strikes and the Media (1986), troubles him to this day.