New edition of Essential Public Affairs textbook launched at NCTJ seminar

The third edition of James Morrison’s Essential Public Affairs for Journalists has been launched at the NCTJ public affairs seminar at Central Hall, Westminster on Friday 1 March.

The launch was part of the NCTJ’s public affairs seminar, held annually to keep tutors up-to-date with key issues and developments in the area.

Speaking at the reception, NCTJ chairman Kim Fletcher said: “Our constant job at the NCTJ is to have an organisation that truly does produce people who know what they’re reporting about, who have the basic skills required and I think there are two obvious areas: one is law, and one is public affairs.”

He congratulated those present on their willingness to meet the challenges posed to journalism training by the Leveson Report and reiterated the importance of adapting current teaching practices to reflect the changing needs of the industry.

He added: “With Morrison’s Essential Public Affairs for Journalists on your desk, along with McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists, I think life is safe. I feel more secure to have this book in my collection. Many congratulations to James and I hope it’s the major success that it should be.”

As well as being provided with a free copy of the book by Oxford University Press, delegates heard from Michael White, assistant editor of The Guardian, who talked about his experience as a political reporter in the opening address.

There were also presentations from James Morrison, author of Essential Public Affairs for Journalists, Mark English, head of public affairs European Commission; Laurence Meehan, head of public affairs and campaigns and Ian Keating, senior adviser, Local Government Association; Isabel Hardman, editor, The Spectator Coffee House Blog; and Elizabeth Wade, head of commissioning policy and membership, NHS Confederation.

The book, which is the core text for the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism, has been updated with programmes of reforms introduced by the coalition in the NHS, school system, social welfare, planning system, and regulation of the financial sector. It also provides explanations of key political events, such as the eurozone sovereign debt crisis, the 2012 Budget, and the background to the setting up of the Leveson Inquiry, and includes new sections focusing on key topical issues and debates related to particular policy areas.

Copies of the book are available to order from the NCTJ online shop.

Endorsements of Morrison’s Essential Public Affairs for Journalists, 3rd edition:

“Journalists need to know what they need to know. Government, at every level, and public bodies are where they will find the stories that really affect their readers, listeners, and the viewers. This is a practical guide to help cut through the bureaucracy, jargon, smoke screens, and secrecy.”

Bob Satchwell

Executive director, Society of Editors

“Accurate reporting of the ever-changing political landscape is at the heart of thorough and trustworthy journalism. James Morrison delivers a definitive account of how national and local government works, packed with all the detail every journalist needs. This book is vital for anyone serious about responsible news reporting.”

Janet Jones

NCTJ Chief Examiner in Public Affairs

“This is a wonderfully thorough, clear, and up-to-date guide to the political mechanics of the country. James Morrison takes readers by the hand and leads them expertly through the twisty byways of British public life and its multifarious institutions.

Roger Alton

Editor, The Times