Reader Reg Davison e-mailed this blog on Wednesday saying:
- When Longbridge car plant closed you devoted untold amounts of time to covering that story in the national news bulletins. Whilst I have sympathy for the people who lost their jobs, it was in Britain's second largest city, with numerous opportunites to find other work. [On Tuesday] Imerys, the local china clay producing company in Cornwall, announced 800 job losses. This in a county with a total population of just 500,000, and few other opportunities to find work. It will devastate small communities in a county that is so poor it receives Objective One funding because it is poorer than the eastern European countries who have just joined the enlarged Europe. Did I hear anything on your national news? No, of course I didn't. Does the world exist west of Bristol? In the minds of the people in London, it appears not.
I know that part of Cornwall quite well, and am very conscious of the china clay industry's significance, now and historically. Here in the business unit the job cuts were discussed pretty fully that morning in the early editorial meeting.
I'm afraid it's just not the case that the news went unreported. Radio, in particular, covered it extensively, from the moment the company announcement came out. The first voiced report from Sarah Ransome in Plymouth was on Five Live at 1000, unions and company were in later news summaries, and Sarah did a much longer piece for the six o'clock and midnight news on Radio 4. Looking back at the day's output it looks to me as if the news was broadcast, in one form or another, every hour on the radio between 1000 and about 1900. And the next morning Today had an interview with a representative from the county council.
On television, News 24 carried the story several times during the day, including a report from a correspondent in the region.
It has to be said the papers give it pretty scant coverage as well. It's one of the mysteries of news, how one story fizzles out and another soars.