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Essential Public Affairs for Journalists

Sixth Edition

James Morrison

June 2019

ISBN: 9780198828037

584 pages

In Stock

Price: £27.99

Published in partnership with the NCTJ: the essential companion for students and professionals.



Essential Public Affairs for Journalism is an invaluable guide for both journalism students and journalists. It offers engaging coverage of the workings of both central and local government, and gives stimulating insights into how they are, and could be, covered by journalists.

  • The only textbook to combine coverage of central and local government specifically geared towards journalism students
  • 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
  • Includes 'current issues' and 'key points' features at the end of each chapter to emphasize the salient themes and to give students the opportunity to recap on points that are likely to be tested in examinations
  • Each chapter contains a 'Topical Feature Idea' which explore issues that journalists routinely report on. These draw on existing examples in the press and include prompts to help the reader develop their research and writing skills

New to this edition

  • Fully revised and streamlined chapters on major policy areas, including the National Health Service, schools, social care, and housing
  • Updates on the outcome and impact of the 2017 'snap' general election; the growing reach and power of combined authorities; and political realignments at Westminster and elsewhere, including the erosion of support for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP)
  • Overview and analysis of the 'Brexit' negotiations, the parliamentary vote on the 'final' deal, and the likely scenarios facing the UK as it enters the withdrawal process from the European Union

About the Author(s)

James Morrison, Reader in Journalism, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen

James Morrison is a Reader in Journalism at Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, 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 and has been a Senior Lecturer at Kingston University. James is a senior examiner in public affairs for the NCTJ and a member of its Public Affairs board.

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:Britain and Europe
    10:The origins and structure of local government
    11:Financing local government
    12:Local government decision-making
    13:Local government accountability and elections
    15:Planning policy and environmental protection
    17:Children's services and adult social care
    18:Transport, environment, leisure, and culture
    19:Freedom of information


"It is a vital text book for journalism training. It makes difficult topics readable and interesting without undermining the importance of the subject. " - John Curzon, Senior Lecturer in Journalism, Bristol School of Film and Journalism, University of West England

"It is beautifully written, comprehensive, and reliable. " - Jonathan Brown, Lecturer in Media Production: Journalism, York St John University

"It is a key text for all students considering entering the field of journalism." - Claire Wolfe, Principal Lecturer in Journalism, University of Worcester

"A very user-friendly and engaging book; topics are communicated to students in way that they can understand rather than feel overwhelmed by - especially if they have never studied public administration or politics before." - Sallyann Halliday, Senior Lecturer, Leeds Business School, Leeds Beckett University

Additional Resources

This book is accompanied by online resources including further 'Topical Feature Ideas' and links to realiable and informative websites. Access the online resources

For further insight into media law and journalism, visit the NCTJ on Twitter at @NCTJ_news.