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Essential Public Affairs for Journalists

Eighth Edition

James Morrison

21 July 2023

ISBN: 9780192874597

544 pages

Price: £27.99

Published in partnership with the NCTJ: this is the essential public affairs guide for journalism students and professionals



Knowledge of public affairs matters: this friendly guide is an invaluable read for journalism students and journalists looking for a firm grasp on how central and local governments work, how public services operate, and how political events generate informative new stories.

  • Offers engaging coverage of the constitutional framework and the governing institutions of the UK, and gives stimulating insights into how they are, and could be, covered by journalists
  • Published in partnership with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and designed to complement accredited syllabi. This text is also recommended for a broad range of media qualifications.
  • Chapters move logically through relevant topics including the economy, political parties, health care, education and housing, and conclude with 'take-home points' and 'current issues' to summarise the chapter and provide contextual knowledge
  • Also available as an e-book with functionality tools, navigation features and links that offer extra learning support

New to this edition

  • Fully updated to reflect policy changes introduced by the governments of Boris Johnson, Liz Truss, and Rishi Sunak
  • Includes detailed overviews of the key impacts on British politics, public services, and the economy of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 'cost-of-living crisis', and the war in Ukraine
  • New sections outlining the impact of Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng's 2022 'mini-Budget' and policy changes affecting a range of areas including asylum and immigration, housing and planning, ownership of the railways, and the National Health Service in England
  • Fully revised and updated 'current issues' and 'further reading' sections

About the Author(s)

James Morrison

James Morrison is an Associate Professor in Journalism at the University of Stirling, and a freelance journalist and writer. Previously, he was course leader of the NCTJ-accredited newspaper and magazine journalism programmes at City College Brighton and Hove, Senior Lecturer at Kingston University, and Reader at Robert Gordon University. James is a senior examiner in public affairs for the NCTJ and a member of its Public Affairs board. He has authored a number of books exploring journalism and socio-political issues, including, most recently, The Left Behind: Reimagining Britain's Socially Excluded (Pluto Press, 2022).

Table of Contents

    1:The British constitution and monarchy
    2:Parliamentary democracy in the UK
    3:Prime minister, Cabinet, and government
    4:Britain's electoral systems
    5:Political parties, party funding, and lobbying
    6:The National Health Service
    7:The Treasury, industry, and the utilities
    8:Social security and home affairs
    9:The origins and structure of local government
    10:Financing local government
    11:Local government decision-making
    12:Local government accountability and elections
    14:Planning policy and environmental protection
    16:Children's services and adult social care
    17:Transport, environment, leisure, and culture
    18:Freedom of information


"Review from previous edition Blimey! I could have done with this book about 20 years ago. A wholesome and comprehensive canter around every limb and funnybone of the state." - Chris Mason, BBC Political Editor

"This book is a comprehensive text on public administration and politics and is a must read for all students of journalism." - Paul Bernal, Associate Professor in Information Technology, Intellectual Property and Media Law, University of East Anglia

"A very engaging and thorough textbook offering the latest insight into public affairs. Morrison presents complex issues in an interesting way that engages journalism students." - Sallyann Halliday, Senior Lecturer, Leeds Beckett University

Additional Resources

The eighth edition is available for students and institutions to purchase in a variety of formats, and is supported by online resources.
· The e-book offers a mobile experience and convenient access along with functionality tools, navigation features and links that offer extra learning support: www.oxfordtextbooks.co.uk/ebooks