Anyone reading the news these days might be tempted to believe that journalists are entirely above the law as they race around in search of their latest scoops. What with the usual accusations of invasion of personal privacy, persecution of the Royal Family and harrassment of reality TV disposable stars, it's surprising how infrequently our scions of the press find themselves in court, let alone behind bars. The reason why so many of them are walking free today is not, however, because they are above the law - it's because they're on top of it. And the best way to get on top of the law is to read McNae's Essential Law for Journalists, the nineteenth edition of which has recently been published by Oxford University Press.
Right: Oh, the shame of it. The IPKat was searching for an image that would combine "cat" with the journalistic concept "scoop" - and this is what he ended up with.
Written by Media Lawyer editor Tom Welsh, Press Association Training consultant Walter Greenwood and University of Sunderland Media Law Senior Lecturer David Banks, this edition is packed with valuable advice for the journalist - and not just the reporter desperately seeking his scoop but the cerebral variety too - who needs to know how far he can go, and how cautious he needs to be when executing the broad range of functions of his profession that might attract legal consequences.
What the publisher says:
The IPKat likes the two-tone colour scheme of the pages. More importantly, the addition of a new chapter, 'The Online Journalist', gives the book a highly topical dimension and makes it much more relevant to current use. But it would be nice for us bloggers to see terms like (we)blog in the index ...
"The authors' non-technical language, engaging writing style and use of topical examples makes the law clear and brings it to life. The nineteenth edition of this acclaimed book has been made even more user-friendly with a two colour text design and the inclusion of summaries and practical checklists to meet the needs of students and busy journalists who need quick answers to the questions they face in their day-to-day work".
Bibliographic detail: Paperback, £18.99 (US35). xxiii + 585 pages. ISBN-13 978-0-19-921154-8. No danger of a hernia. Small pages, large print. Written by journalists, for journalists, and actually reads like a dream. If only books written by lawyers for lawyers were so accessible.