Newsdesk Law - the Basics
(Newsdesk Law is only here to help, madam)






This section is designed to help students with their exams. Newsdesk Law would be delighted to be able to pin-point the dead cert questions but we regret to say that simply isn't possible.

Journalism students, law students, degree students, NCTJ students - they all work to different syllabuses and time-frames. And will all sit different exams.

But they do have one requirement in common – every question in every media law exam demands that the student is, at the very least, aware of the basic rules of libel, contempt and the rest.

So this Newsdesk revision section uses questions designed to test the basic rules of libel and contempt. It provides the framework upon which privacy cases are decided. And it assembles, in an orderly fashion, the rules of court reporting which people must have in their heads if they are to pass that NCTJ exam.

For the journalism student the one big danger lurking in NCTJ exams is the tendency to waffle instead of simply applying the rules to the questions.

The NCTJ exams are not a media law essay where you can fill in five or six sheets of A4 (both sides) and bore the marker into 40 pc submission.

They are professional exams with the simple aim of checking whether you’re safe to be let out. The marking guide says it all:

0-29 No knowledge relevant to the job of being a journalist. Candidate will almost certainly make serious legal errors
30-39 Confused and lacking in basic understanding. Very likely to make basic legal errors.

40-49 Some grasp but limited understanding of key concepts. Likely to make basic legal errors

It follows, therefore, that all the coaching, all the question-forecasting in the world is useless if our budding investigative reporters, fearless columnists, witty restaurant critics and brilliant sub-editors don't learn the basic rules of the trade.


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