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Journalists praise new public affairs textbook

Senior journalists have praised a new textbook designed to help journalism students and trainees find their way around the political maze.

The second edition of Essential Public Affairs for Journalists, published yesterday, has been written by James Morrison, a freelance journalist and writer and senior lecturer in journalism at Kingston University.

It has been fully updated following the 2010 general election and the formation of the coalition government, and has also been revised in light of the changes to the National Council for the Training of Journalists’ public affairs syllabus.

Billed as the ‘essential textbook’ for NCTJ-accredited courses, it combines coverage of both central and local government and is specifically geared towards journalism students, trainees and journalists.

Alan Qualtrough, editor of the Western Morning News said: “The Coalition’s ‘Big Society’ idea of devolving social and economic policy to local stakeholders makes the thorough knowledge of public affairs essential for journalists.

“This clear and precise guide is the bedrock for any senior, trainee or industry practitioner grappling with the seismic events occurring in local and national government.”

Michael White, assistant editor and former political editor at The Guardian commented: “If this compendious volume had been at my elbow, explaining how all the bits join together as I started out in journalism, many things would have been easier to understand and write about.”

And Today Prrogramme presenter Justin Webb called the textbook “a work of extraordinary range and ambition which brilliantly succeeds in laying bare the workings of our nation.”