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Sian Harrison appointed as new co-author of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists

Posted on: January 28, 2021 by Mariella Brown

The law service editor of PA Media has been appointed as the co-author of the 26th edition of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists.

Sian Harrison has been appointed by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and Oxford University Press to work alongside Mark Hanna on the ‘invaluable tool’ for journalists, editors and trainers.

Her appointment comes after previous co-author Mike Dodd stepped down from the role following the publication of the 25th edition last year.

Sian began her career in journalism in 2006 as a trainee at the Hull Daily Mail after completing the NCTJ-accredited course at Cardiff University. She relocated to London in 2010 and spent a short period as a senior reporter on the Waltham Forest Guardian and then joined Strand News Service as a senior court reporter. 

At PA Media, Sian manages her team’s coverage of the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. She oversees legal challenges on reporting restrictions and access to court documents and has been at the forefront of PA’s coverage for some of the most high-profile court cases in recent years.

Across the media and judiciary, Sian supports open justice and is a member of the courts and tribunals media working group at the Ministry of Justice. She is NCTJ-qualified, a visiting lecturer and is joining the NCTJ’s media law examinations board.

Sian said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed the new co-author of McNae’s Essential Law for Journalists. Ever since Leonard McNae wrote the first edition with the aim of ensuring journalists knew their ‘rights and privileges’ it has been a key part of the journalists’ toolkit and richly deserves its unofficial status as the ‘journalists’ bible’.

McNae’s remains an invaluable guide for any aspiring or practising journalist hoping to navigate their way through an ever-changing landscape of law, regulation and ethics. It is a huge honour and privilege for me to be picking up the baton from Mike Dodd, who is owed a debt of gratitude for his services to journalism, media law and open justice, and I’m very much looking forward to working with Mark on the 26th edition.”

Joanne Butcher, chief executive of the NCTJ, said: “We are thrilled Sian is joining Mark Hanna to work on the next edition of McNae’s

“With extensive and current experience of media law and journalism, her skills complement Mark’s wealth of journalism, teaching and examining experience.

“Sian is the perfect person to ensure this prestigious book continues to move with the times and retains its enduring respect and gravitas in newsrooms, training rooms and the courts.”

Mark Hanna, co-author of McNae’s, added: “I was delighted to hear that Sian wants to be the co-author, and I look forward to working with her on the next edition.

“Sian’s all-round track record in journalism, including her frontline experience of reporting from the highest courts, will help ensure McNae’s stays very relevant and up-to-date.”