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Journalism trainer creates McNae’s facemask as media law prize

A journalism trainer has created a McNae’s face mask in a bid to enthuse his students about media law.

University of Central Lancashire lecture Kevin Duffy designed the mask, based on the cover of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists, as a prize for one of his top-performing students.

He then set them a quiz, with the winner of the mask being picked from those who got each question correct.

Kevin, a former editor of the Oldham Advertiser, explained the idea behind the unique competition.

McNae mask

He told HTFP: “Each new academic year I urge our Year One journalism students to get a copy of the NCTJ recommended law book, McNae, as soon as possible and I’m always trying to come up with ideas to foster early engagement.

“I also want them to relax about the prospect of doing law – I think it can seem a bit intimidating at the outset.

“It’s understandable if they’re thinking, ‘Hang on, I want to be journalist, not a lawyer’, so I try to keep it light-hearted during our meet-the-tutors session before teaching starts.

“Since the Covid crisis has made us mask-wearers on campus, I decided a McNae face mask would be the ideal way to help get them in the zone in both respects. I used Vistaprint to create and order online a face-mask with lots of little McNaes on it.”

In a remote meet-and-greet session Kevin asked the students to name the year the first McNae published, the Chancellor of Uclan, and the newspaper he edited before becoming a lecturer.

He added: “How did I pick the winner? I wanted them to see it was fair so I put the names of students who submitted correct answers into individual numbered envelopes and at our first lecture – online ‑ one my students selected a number and the name in that envelope got the prize.

“The winning student sportingly modelled their mask prize during an online lecture last week.

“To my mind, it’s all about getting the students to understand that the McNae book is best thought of as a day-to-day newsroom manual, rather than a traditional heavyweight academic-theory book.

“So I use a bit of fun to help make the subject accessible at the outset, ahead of the inevitable heavy-lifting that the media law and regulation module entails.”

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