Sian Harrison appointed as new co-author of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists

Sian Harrison, law service editor of PA Media, has been appointed by the NCTJ and Oxford University Press to work with Mark Hanna as co-author of the 26th edition of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists.

First published in 1954 and authored by Leonard McNae of the Press Association, McNae’s offers unrivalled practical guidance on the law and the ethics related to journalism and a wide range of reporting situations.

The book is regarded as an invaluable tool for everyone who wants to be taken seriously as a journalist, editor or journalism trainer.

Sian began her career in journalism in 2006 as a trainee at the Hull Daily Mail after completing the NCTJ-accredited course at Cardiff University. She covered general news and health stories before becoming a court reporter.

She relocated to London in 2010 and spent a short period as a senior reporter on the Waltham Forest Guardian and then joined Strand News Service as a senior court reporter.

At PA Media, Sian manages her team’s coverage of the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. She oversees legal challenges on reporting restrictions and access to court documents and has been at the forefront of PA’s coverage for some of the most high-profile court cases in recent years.

Well-connected in the media industry and the judiciary, she supports open justice and is a member of the courts and tribunals media working group at the Ministry of Justice. She is NCTJ-qualified, a visiting lecturer and is joining the NCTJ’s media law examinations board.

Announcing Sian’s appointment, which has just received formal approval by delegates at Oxford University Press, Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ said: “We are thrilled Sian is joining Mark Hanna to work on the next edition of McNae’s.

“With extensive and current experience of media law and journalism, her skills complement Mark’s wealth of journalism, teaching and examining experience.

“Sian is the perfect person to ensure this prestigious book continues to move with the times and retains its enduring respect and gravitas in newsrooms, training rooms and the courts.”

Sian Harrison said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed the new co-author of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists. Ever since Leonard McNae wrote the first edition with the aim of ensuring journalists knew their ‘rights and privileges’ it has been a key part of the journalists’ toolkit and richly deserves its unofficial status as the ‘journalists’ bible’.

McNae’s remains an invaluable guide for any aspiring or practising journalist hoping to navigate their way through an ever-changing landscape of law, regulation and ethics. It is a huge honour and privilege for me to be picking up the baton from Mike Dodd, who is owed a debt of gratitude for his services to journalism, media law and open justice, and I’m very much looking forward to working with Mark on the 26th edition.”

Lucy Read, senior commissioning editor at Oxford University Press, said: “Many excellent authors have left their mark on the book over its illustrious history; we thank Mike for his legacy, and look forward to working with Sian on the next edition of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists where she will certainly make an impact and help us all ensure the book retains its rightful place as the number one resource for journalism students and practitioners.”

Mark Hanna commented: “I was delighted to hear that Sian wants to be the co-author, and I look forward to working with her on the next edition.

“Sian's all-round track record in journalism, including her frontline experience of reporting from the highest courts, will help ensure McNae's stays very relevant and up-to-date.”