As a journalist, there will be occasions when your legal knowledge is as important as your ability to craft an intro. You don’t need to be a solicitor, but you do need to know how to keep your newspaper out of trouble - and your editor out of jail.
Press freedom is enshrined in our law, so it is vital to know how doggedly you can pursue a story without fear or favour and understand the full implications of what you are writing.
The first ten weeks will be focussed specifically on court reporting, outlining the differences between robbery and theft and libel and slander, for example.
You’ll also learn about journalists’ defences against defamation and contempt and the restrictions that exist for reporting.
If this all sounds totally foreign to you, don’t panic. We will be building from the absolute basics and you will soon have a grasp of when the press can attend court, how reporting restrictions can be appealed and the limitations in place when covering cases involving sexual offences or children.
After the Part 1 exam at the midway point, we move on to look at how the law applies to more general reporting. From week 12 onwards, you’ll be tackling copyright, breach of confidence, privacy and disclosure of sources, with plenty of opportunities for discussion.
Your knowledge of defamation and contempt will again be crucial in Part 2, and, throughout both parts of the syllabus, the Press Complaints Commission’s Editorial Code of Practice will be held up as a guideline for reporters.
One beacon of light during the revision grind will be McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists, the textbook for Media Law.
This is an absolute must, keeping a complicated subject relatively simple and giving explanations that tally with the exam marking guide.
With a proven blend of focussed lectures and light-hearted exercises - including the newly-created Law Bingo - we manage to get approximately 90% of trainees through each part, ensuring you’ll leave us with a thorough grounding in Media Law.