We haven’t seen the back of CLED just yet

Written on:April 18, 2014
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Students on our sports journalism courses have to be clued up on the latest laws of libel. Sports journalism is usually awash with defamatory statements.

And in fact people on our music journalism course need to be equally careful these days. Rock stars can be thin-skinned sometimes!

One of them asked me the other day whether the ‘CLED  definition’ still applies under the new Defamation Act 2013. CLED meaning: ‘Cause, Lower, Expose, Disparage …’

This won’t be  clarified until we get the first test case under the Defamation Act. Future decisions will use a lot of pre-2013 law, but no-one knows which bits, or how yet.

The primary definition of a defamatory statement is now whether it causes, or tends to cause, someone serious harm to their reputation. Most legal experts believe CLED will become an extension … so you will end up with:

A statement is not defamatory unless its publication has caused or is likely to cause serious harm to the reputation of the claimant, in that it tended to C, L, E or D’.

So that’s what I’m teaching at the moment until some judge puts me straight!

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Our website is not fit for a queen

Written on:April 15, 2014
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Someone emailed me last week saying our website contains grammatical imperfections. They’re dead right. So does this blog. Our website is a marketing tool, and isn’t intended to showcase perfect grammar. We deliberately write copy that is friendly, engaging, and easy to read on screen. Few publications or websites use Queen’s English these days. Whether that’s a good thing, or a bad thing, is another matter! But that’s the world…

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Do scruffy reporters need a dressing down?

Written on:April 14, 2014
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Here’s a post for people doing our newspaper journalism courses! A friend of mine was telling me how his son won an award and went to the library for a presentation. It was covered by the local regional evening paper, who sent a reporter and a photographer. He tells me: ‘The reporter was wearing dirty clothes with holes in them. Even her shoes were ripped and had holes in them,…

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Can you do the NCTJ diploma alongside a full-time job?

Written on:April 11, 2014
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Can you do the NCTJ diploma alongside a full-time job? The simple answer to this is: yes. Many of our students have proved it can be done. See some of them I won’t pretend it’s easy though, and neither will any of our graduates. The NCTJ diploma is challenging, and needs a great deal of commitment, self- discipline, and self-sacrifice. But if you lack those qualities, then journalism’s probably not…

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Using examples in NCTJ law exams

Written on:April 10, 2014
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People doing NCTJ journalism diploma courses learn to love the Essential Law exam! It really is a tough one to pass. Using examples can help to increase your marks. But they can sometimes be hard to find. It’s best to use real world cases in this descending order of priority ‘types’: Use a test case, or landmark case. These are usually listed in Essential Law. If you cannot find one,…

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Headings should get straight to the point

Written on:April 9, 2014
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The internet has produced a revolution in headline writing. Headings with cringey puns and plays on words are ‘yesterday’ in many sectors. Key search phrases and locations are more important … a point we emphasise on our blogging course Of course, journalists and students on our PR course don’t like it. They like witty headings, or ones that promote the client. It’s best to use obvious headings on fliers and…

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Libel: a clear and present danger

Written on:April 8, 2014
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We teach the laws of libel on all our journalism courses. It would be dangerous not to. Even people on our travel writing course and sports journalism courses learn the basics, just the same as those on our NCTJ journalism courses. And the same goes with blogging courses, too. Bloggers get similar protection as journalists on some occasions. Their reports from courts, council meetings, and many other organisations and occasions…

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Will citizen journalists rule, OK?

Written on:April 4, 2014
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A lot of careers have replaced by technology over the last 20 years. First it was the dockers. Then the car assembly workers. Then the printers. They all fought hard to save their jobs. But they all failed. Technology always wins. They were swept aside by progress. Will journalists be next? They might be! I used to tell trainee journalists: ‘You will always need someone like us to do interviews,…

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NCTJ law exam help

Written on:April 4, 2014
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Here’s the latest in our series of specimen answers to NCTJ diploma law questions involving defamation. Students on NCTJ journalism courses will find them helpful. And I’ve even had students on our radio journalism course, web writing course and sports journalism courses say they have found the answers intriguing! This answer – and the others I’ve published already – reflect changes brought about by the Defamation Act 2013, and follow…

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A good press release should target just one person

Written on:April 3, 2014
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We include lessons on writing press releases in our fashion journalism courses and our music journalism courses. This reflects the fact that multimedia journalists must be able to write commercial copy these days. A press release is ultimately written for a publication’s readers. But if it does not catch the editor’s attention in the first place, the readers will never see it. See this helpful video So the heading and…

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