Sir Alan Moses, chairman of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), yesterday gave his emphatic endorsement to the latest edition of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists.
Giving the keynote address, Sir Alan said: “It is not possible to conceive of anyone who wants to be taken seriously as a journalist or as an editor, without McNae’s 23rd edition well-thumbed and inwardly digested in his or her knapsack. If you leave it behind, if you ignore it, you do so not only at your own peril but at the peril of all those who fight for and believe in an untamed unruly and a free press.”
“I defy anyone to find any holes in this essential guide. These impressive cartographers, your authors we celebrate today, unlike so many judicial authorities whose signposts point in opposite directions, leave no holes…they do what the best pundits used to do when scaling the Himalayas…they show you the way…each topic with pithy case summaries, or short but wise analysis, reminders and recaps, each complex issue with a vital pointer to further reading in McNaes.com. “
Regarding the books coverage of press regulation and IPSO he said: “For we at IPSO must congratulate you on managing to succeed in dispelling ignorance and misinformation in a field so ripe with such vices.
“You at least understand and explain what regulation is about… Chapter 2 gives a clear and correct summary of how regulation works through IPSO and clarifies what has become, all too unnecessarily, opaque and complex; you are one of the few who have understood and because you understand can explain the dreary mechanisms of the Charter and recognition.”
The address was given as part of a reception and lunch to mark the launch of the 23rd edition of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists, held at News UK in London on Thursday, 9 June.
The event, supported by Oxford University Press, marked the release of the book often referred to as the media industry’s “bible”.
Guests included current editors Mike Dodd and Mark Hanna, regional and national press including News UK chief executive officer Rebekah Brooks, broadcasters, journalism trainers and the family of the late Leonard McNae, the original author.
Andy Cairns, Sky Sports News executive editor and recently appointed director and trustee of the NCTJ, opened the event. He recounted his memories of being a young trainee journalist who relied on his copy of McNae’s to guide him through his early work and is now quoted on the back of the 23rd edition of the book.
His quote reads: “A vital tool for every journalist and every newsroom. This cuts through the legal complexities with important detail and great clarity.”
After the keynote address Felicity Boughton, publishing editor at Oxford University Press, introduced the book’s authors passing on her praise from OUP and her thanks to the NCTJ and News UK for the event.
Authors Mike Dodd and Mark Hanna took to the stage to share some of the newest components of the latest edition. Mark Hanna explained that they had updated their coverage of the Editors’ Code of Practice while Mike raised his concerns with the prevalence of the move from the open justice principle to 'trial by single justice on the papers' procedure (which has been introduced for dealing with minor cases) and the effect this will have on journalists finding out about cases.
McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists is one of the core texts for the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism and the National Qualification in Journalism (NQJ). McNae’s provides both students and journalists an accessible explanation of media law and practical guidance on applying it.
A full copy of Sir Alan Moses’ keynote address can be found here.
Photos of the event can be viewed on the NCTJ Facebook page here, any use please credit Frontline Photography.