Sunday, 31 October 2010


This week's media law topic was privacy and confidentiality.

Section 8 of the Human Rights Act states that everybody has a right to privacy, including the right to enjoy private family life.

Civil Law

IN THE PAPERS THIS WEEK: Wayne Rooney on the front page of The Sun on holiday in Dubai. It is bigger news than it would have been because this has come just after questions over his loyalty to Manchester United.

So this is a clear breach of Section 8...


1. The Sun would have got clearance to run these pictures from Rooney's agents.
2. It is likely money changed hands before permission was given.

Therefore, The Sun are in the clear, even though there needs to be consent from the subject of the picture in normal circumstances. The only time consent is not necessary is when the subject is on a clear public duty.

One of the most famous cases of picture rights is the HELLO! vs. OK! case

- Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas had given exclusive right to OK! for their wedding pictures, but not Hello! which also published them.
- In 2003, the judge said there was no law of privacy in which the celebs and OK! could recover damages from Hello!
- In 2005, the Court of Appeal decided the stars' confidence had been breached, so were allowed to sue Hello!
- But the decision that OK! could sue Hello was not overturned. See page 401 in McNae's.

If you breach any of the above, you can be sued, but if you breach the Official Secrets Act (1911), it could be a criminal offence.

Section 1 (see page 503) covers anything that could hinder a war effort or homeland security.
- For example, it is illegal to take pictures of army bases or power stations etc.
- You can be arrested on the spot under Section 33 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Other sections cover what are known as 'silly secrets'.

Common Law

Everybody has a right to privacy (i.e. to keep secrets), so long as it is not in the public interest.

As a journalist, you have committed a crime and may have to pay compensation if you fail to uphold this right. This is known as BREACH OF CONFIDENCE.

A claimant has show all four of the following in court to prove you have breached their confidence:

1. The information has the necessary quality of confidence. This is serious information, which is not known (e.g. - your medical record). Things such as your birthplace and date of birth are regarded as 'tittle-tattle' so is not classed as breach of confidence.

2. The circumstances/place in which the information was imparted lends itself to private matters. For example, if you shout "I am gay" in the middle of town, your case will not get to court!

3. There was no permission to pass on the information.

4. Detriment to well-being has been caused as a result.

N.B. - the claimant has to prove every single one of these points to prove breach of confidence, where as in defamation, he/she only has to prove a tendency to one of the points.

Gagging clauses (in employment)

Although not part of a worker's contract of employment, they owe a common law 'duty of confidence' to their employer. This is so that any issues can be solved quietly and internally.

As a journalist, if you are interviewing anyone who is unhappy with their company (e.g. NHS?), it your duty to warn your subject that you are breaching this confidence if with what they are about to give you.

If they are still happy to carry on, fire away!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010


We had a big push on features this week, partly because of the WINOL magazine that is coming next week.

On Monday, only me and Cara were in so we worked to get everything up to speed. Veronica gave me 13 features to be done by Wednesday (27th).

Chris then joined us and we looked through some stories/features with legal problems. We also worked out what HTML was needed to embed the YouTube videos so they wrap around text.

On Tuesday, we had another massive onslaught on the features and did a 'first sub' on all the outstanding news and sport.

On Wednesday, Paul took over as director, which meant I could focus on the site more - and trailing the bulletin.

Chris showed me how to use the ticker (scrolling thing on the site). We put what was coming up in the bulletin with sensationalised tabloid headlines.

Brian also gave me a masterclass on how to write top lines and the like. It'd be useful if he gave the same advice to the reporters, would be very constructive.

Then we had a debrief from ITV's Senior Political Correspondent Chris Ship.

Monday, 25 October 2010


Winchester News Online Editor Catherine Hayes

General point: We still need to get in control of the script and the processes that will coe with it

1. Homeless people (Jack)

- good use of actuality
- juxtaposition libel? Was the busker actually homeless?
- weird interview
- funny jump cut

2. Spending cut chat: pretty well done

3. Court (Giddings)

- identification of reg. plate, potential danger
- excellent pull focus
- PTC slightly over-exposed
- very good scripting

4. Train fares (Julie)

- first shot quite long
- vary GVs more
- tense problems: used "this morning" when it was not possible in time

5. Last-min piece (Stu)

- Awesome to turn it around in a day
- PTC a bit close up
- Allotment thing slight overlooked in my opinion...was very good for pictures

6. Bishop (Mike)

- interview needs to be eye-level
- GVs: lack of relevance


- champagne thing a bit weirdly done, but great idea
- basketball: funny lighting and interview a bit echoey

BBC South Editor Lee Desty

General points: Good to get rehearsals in, gallery plugged away well, changes to stories worth the stress!

- Didn't grab our audience enough in first 30 seconds. Very important point for South Today.
- Maybe four headlines: two news, two sport?
- No actuality in headlines and we need to make sure we use our very best shots (e.g. - busker?)

1. Homeless people (Jack)

- interview a long shot. Get tighter!

2. Spending cut chat

- someone said "it's bad for us", understand the pressure of the situation, but need to remain impartial
- good initiative though

3. Court (Giddings)

- questions over paedo stories in bulletins at all, due to the family watching
- needed a mug shot
- good command of facts

4. Train fares (Julie)

- vox pops weak
- PTC well framed
- v/o needed more energy

5. Last-min piece (Stu)

- he really liked it!
- PTC a bit long but tried to get a lot of facts in

6. Bishop (Mike)

- Not great for an 'and finally'
- cutaway to a hedge???


- A big divider for a family watching, so three mins out of ten perhaps too long
- South Today has five minutes in 30

- Winchester City highlights needed a bit more colour and stats to add to the action we can see anyway

- Good graphic, lucky we can use proper logo for the league.

- Interview with Basketball coach: Basketball on desk...why?! Quite funny though.

Thursday, 21 October 2010


Blog about this week's lecture on privilege.

IN THE NEWS THIS WEEK: Pre-nuptual agreements, more legal standing from now on. Read more...

Anyway, privilege allows us to write material that is defamatory and could be untrue (i.e. protection/immunity from being sued).

Two types

1. Absolute privilege - records from parliament and usually in court

2. Qualified privilege - but needs to be fast, accurate, fair and without malice.
And has to be a member of public interest.

Two levels of QP

1. with or 'subject to' EXPLANATION or CONTRADICTION
2. without explanation or contradiction

You have privilege...

1. legislature*
2. court*
3. public inquiry*
4. public proceedings of an international organisation or conference*
* - anywhere in the world

The following areas contain a grey area of privilege. They are subject to explanation and contradiction.

1. public meetings
2. local council meetings
3. tribunals etc
4. UK companies

N.B. - Associations (FA/GMC etc) - findings/decisions covered, conference type bit NOT the actual proceedings!


Public meetings, officially public from only 2000 because of the Human Rights Act and the Clegg Case. Read more...
Written handouts are now covered because of the Clegg Case.

BUT consider risks for live broadcasting...put in delay if necessary!


- Must be fair
- Accurate
- Without malice
- On a matter of public interest

Privilege immediately disappears once outside the proceedings.

Interestingly, if someone shouts from the gallery you can report it to add colour - as long as it is not defamatory.
BUT it's okay if they have been a witness.

Read my (slightly late!) post on defamation/libel


I attended the Monday conference this week to ask all reporters for text stories. Not every reporter has met their deadline though.

Apart from that, we caught up with everything that was already on Joomla for subbing. I'm perfectly aware that certain people don't think that we're doing enough, but there are so many problems with the articles in the first place that we find ourselves doing half the reporters' job before even checking for errors.

Obviously this isn't always the case, some stories have been really good, but some people aren't following simple grammatical rules and then subs don't follow the house style. We need a meeting!

On Tuesday, had a bit of a masterclass from Horrie regarding Stu's brilliant investigative report. The story was about councillor's allowances and how an anti-tax group was against the level of them. One problem was the credibility of the source IsItFair, leading to a lack of balance. The other reason why there was a lack of balance was the fact that the councillor at the heart of the story didn't comment. Stu did try several times but it was a bit dodgy, which I should have realised.

On Wednesday, there was a sport story that I had to sub before Chris kicked me out into the studio to direct the bulletin.

Amazingly, we were pretty much on time to rehearse but that soon changed when we put in two stories in place of two weaker ones. It involved changing the running order, headlines, the script etc and it was worth the effort. But frankly, it wasn't executed well enough.

As director, I hold my hands up for not dealing with the changes; I feel disappointed with fulfilling that role, but when you are still trying to direct a bulletin with a old script, it's not going to help.

After complete carnage in the studio, we managed to get the bulletin out on time and to a decent standard, which is what it's all about.

But it didn't stop there, Chris was onto me to update the content on the front page straight after the bulletin. I also had stories to approve for publishing.

Then I subbed a sports story myself after all of that. Let's just say it took me until 9pm to finish, but enough said about one for now!

Monday, 18 October 2010


Debrief for our second bulletin of the term.

Jack's piece about international students ID problems probably shouldn't have been top story, but had a lot of potential. It started with a 'drop intro', which is usually synonymous with stories just before the sport or an 'and finally', so that is almost proof that is should have been dropped lower. Plus, we only saw Jack in vision for a millisecond during his PTC, which looked slightly odd.

Julie's tuition fee story started with an excellent pull focus. Content wise, the quote didn't qualify the fact that they were supposedly "demonstrating" against the fees. We needed to find somebody who was directly effected, so we could get quotes strong enough.

Gareth's housing story (OOV) had a good opening shot. Also, the sound was disappointing on the councillor - be careful!

Aimee's OOV about the Queen Elizabeth naming ceremony was very well done and just helped to fill the bulletin, which is obviously the name of the game. We don't keep enough natural sound in, but Aimee did well to add colour to the piece in this way.

And in sport, the spelling errors! I won't say anything else because this is such a serious/needless issue that others fade into obscurity.

The BJTC thing was also good and the presenters did very well when ad-libbing about it...but we could drive this even more...

Thursday, 14 October 2010


Catch-up blog on our lecture about defamation and libel.



- This area of law can be a very expensive business, although there has been a lack of recent high profile cases - perhaps due to the current economic climate.

- 1998: Kieran Fallon sued the Sporting Life newspaper for accusing him of deliberately not winning a race.

- To avoid getting sued, it is always important to remember balance. If you talk to both sides, you will pretty much have your legal defence.

DEFAMATION is a tendency to...

1. lower individual(s) in the estimation of right thinking people
2. cause them to be shunned/avoided
3. disparage them in their business, trade or profession
4. expose them to hatred, ridicule or contempt

- Notice the apparent vagueness of these conditions. In statute, what you print only needs to have a tendency to do any of the above.

- Think about the individual(s) reputation at the time of printing. How much do they have to lose? And would an upstanding member of a community think less of them as a result?

Defamation via pictures (juxtaposition libel)

- A big danger in television. Voiceovers - in OOVs for example - need to match the shots on-screen. If we are too careless, we could be defaming somebody without even knowing it.

- Be careful with imprecise shots. For example, if you are asked to go and get GVs of a terrorists house that has been raided and you include the door of a neighbour in the shot, you're in hot water.

- Therefore, people/companies must not be identified in the wrong context.

Reputation and meaning

- Reputation is precious, remembering this as a journalist is just as vital.
- Meaning: how what you print is interpreted by a 'right-thinking' person.
Inference and innuendo our hazards here

Former Cabinet Minister Lord Gowrie sued over an article that created the innuendo that he was taking drugs (see page 307 in McNae or read this)

Journalists' defences

1. JUSTIFICATION: "It's true and I can prove it"
2. FAIR COMMENT: "This is my honestly held opinion based on the facts"
3. ABSOLUTE PRIVILEGE: court reporting
4. QUALIFIED PRIVILEGE: police quote, council meetings etc

Reynold's defence

- In basic terms, a journalist can be let off if the defamatory remarks are seen to be in the public interest.

- If you come to your conclusions after practising 'responsible journalism' (i.e - kept notes, diaries, recordings), your defence will be enhanced.

EXAMPLE: The Sunday Times v Albert Reynolds

Former head of the Republic of Ireland Government Albert Reynolds sued the Sunday Times after a story that hinted at the fact he was misleading his country's parliament.

The Sunday Times argued that the report was necessary as it was clearly a matter of public interest. The newspaper lost, but a year or so later on appeal, it was officially ruled that the media have a duty to perform public duties of this ilk.

See page 357 for more or read this parliament document.

Bane and antidote

Accusation of libel removed by whole context (of the article or string of articles)

- BANE = the offence, ANTIDOTE = the defence - perhaps something said later on in the article that draws on a more balanced opinion about the subject)

Antidote can be in the form of an apology or clarification, which can usually be found tucked away in the bottom corner of page 20!

However, you have no defence when you...

- haven't checked facts
- haven't referred it up
- haven't put yourself in the shoes of the party in question
- get carried away by a spicy story
- don't bother to wait for your lawyer's opinion.


- Who am I writing about? Could they sue?
- Is it potentially defamatory?
- DO I have a defence? Which one?


Notes on what I got up to on our first proper week of WINOL.

On Monday, I went to Southampton with Showbiz Reporter(?!) Aimee to cover the naming ceremony of the Queen's new cruise ship.

We couldn't get near her at Dock Gate 4, so had to make do with filming her on a big screen! But we managed to get the shots we needed (e.g. "I name this ship..."). News Editor Kayleigh decided to make it a NIB, but it was a good piece to fill 30 seconds of the bulletin.

Meanwhile, my sub-editing team were stressing out in the newsroom over articles being published inexplicably. Hopefully this won't happen again as we are tracking it all on the whiteboard now!

On Tuesday, we spent the day pushing for pictures so that we could publish stories that had already been looked over.

On Wednesday, I turned up to find out that the bulletin was scheduled for the earlier time of 2pm. Not everybody knew that the time had been changed, which unsurprisingly hindered our prepartion for the bulletin.

We got there in the end, but had to keep delaying the start, which is the last thing we want to do.

I thought that my directing was better than last week. We have only been in our new roles for a few weeks, so communication in the gallery is poor, but I tried my best to pull things together as well as keep Presenters Tom and Claire in the loop.

Monday, 11 October 2010


Here is my debrief for our dummy bulletin, the first of the year.

Let's get me out of the way: I was directing. Angus said I did well in the end, but I need to be unafraid of being bossy to get things done.

Joey's piece on the Tory Party Conference was excellent, one of the best ever on WINOL. Execution of the story from conference to submission was brilliant. PTC was very confident. Could've started piece with Brine, but that's about the only criticism.

Stu's piece on the St. Paul's by-election was good, but not one of his best. The "walking billboard" was a bit of a stitch-up! And contrary to Brian's comments, I loved the tie!

Julie's piece on student finance was very well scripted (that Glenn helped her with it...whoever he is!). Great range of shots and exemplary vox pops. Needed a stronger angle though, too descriptive.

Non-rape alley by Andrew. Voice over was clear, but lack of angle in story/scripting. Needed camera right then camera left for vox pops. Oh well, talented man - just an off day!

And in Sport...

As Chris put it, to get exclusive rights to from the fifth tier of English football is a fantastic why didn't we plug it more?! After the post-mortem, sounds like it was because Grant took on too much last week. It can be sorted for sure and we will look even better!

Karen's PTC at the start of her package was a great idea, perhaps could have been executed better and went on too long. And after all, when that Clem guy does it on The Football League Show, it's bound to look better because he has the best equipment...and he's at St. Mary's or Hillsborough!!! But great highlights for a first time shot!

Dave - voice very good.

Women's Football. We flagged it up a little bit, need to keep driving it now.

General points: Don't say what you see and only include your best bits (i.e. not chances that are barely half chances etc).

Overall, bulletin was too heavy...we need to focus on light and shade more and cater for our audience. Presenters were brilliant as usual, although we could work on banter between handovers like South Today do 'n' that!

Saturday, 9 October 2010


Here are my notes on this week's lecture about court reporting.

The main point: Risk of PREJUDICE leads to CONTEMPT.

As journalists, we need to know when there is risk of printing certain details and when there isn't.

Here is a simple example...

EVENT 1: (10am) Man steals £4,000 from a post office. Press release to that effect sent out by police.

At this point, we can use the information given to us to print that story. We are at the (short-lived) safe point. No one has been arrested. For example, we would take audio from Mrs Ivy Jones (the victim/owner who was supervising the shop at the time).

EVENT 2: (4pm) Man arrested in connection with alleged offence.

Case is now legally active.

Story will be similar to the morning's, still beware of accidental identification at this point and keep checking with the police as to whether an arrest is about to be made. If your next bulletin is at 4.30pm and you think there is a good chance he may be arrested before then, air on the side of caution (e.g - don't include audio from victim etc).

EVENT 3: (5pm) Man charged.

The case will now go to Crown Court as it is an indictable offence, meaning a possible sentence of five years or more. For this reason, anything that may be used as evidence, such as the audio used earlier, has to be omitted and made untracable.

A case is legally active when:

1. Police make arrest
2. An arrest warrant has been issued
3. Magistrates issue summons
4. A person is charged

- Police normally have 24 hours to question a suspect
- It can be extended by 12 hours by a senior officer
- It can be extended a further 36 hours if magistrates agree

- It cannot exceed 96 hours

The limit for terror suspects is a lot longer. The controversial 28 days.

Cases are always sexed up and ridiculously unrealistic on TV and always happen at a Crown Court. On the other hand, Magistrates Courts are the place for minor crimes/disputes - basically the non-juicy stuff!

However, Magistrates still have significant powers, which are:

1. Six months jail sentence or £5,000 fine
2. Suspended sentence
3. Conditional discharge (e.g - don't offend within 12 months)
4. Community service orders (may be worth covering if the person plays for Winchester City or Southampton, depending on what publication you work for)
5. Binding over (e.g. - sum of £500)
6. ASBOs (Anti-Social Behaviour Orders)

IMPORTANT: Here are the only things you can say when reporting to avoid avoid prejudicing potential jurors.

- Name and age
- Address and occupation
- Charge(s)
- Date and place of Crown Court hearing
- Bail and legal aid conditions
- Names of counsel

REMEMBER: Any risk of PREJUDICE leads to CONTEMPT...Contempt of Court to be exact, which is a strict liability offence.

Key Stages of trial

1. Opening
2. Prosecution opening
3. Key prosecution witness
4. Defence opening
5. Key defence witnesses
6. Judge's summary
7. Jury sent out (deliberation/verdict)
8. Sentencing

This is where you need to convince your News Editor to give you time to cover the trial. You have to cover days when the defence speak as well as the prosecution, otherwise your reporting of the trial will appear unbalanced if you decide. Therefore, your News Editor has to decide whether it is high profile enough.

Qualified privilege (QP)

Journalists have legal protection when reporting the courts. It prevents them from being accused of contempt of court and getting an action for libel. This is known as qualified privilege (QP). However, this privilege is lost if your reporting is not fast (in the next available bulletin/edition), accurate (importance of shorthand) and fair (free from malice).


BBC College of Journalism - The Reynolds Defence

Chris' notes from course site

Thursday, 7 October 2010


First of many posts to come informing my (extremely) small audience of what I'm up to at WINOL.

On Monday morning, Chris refreshed us on how Joomla, the content management system for WINOL. If anybody wasn't there and needs to know how to use Joomla, click here for a tutorial.

Then, as I am WINOL's No. 1 taxi service, News Editor Kayleigh James asked me to take Jack into Winchester to cover the 'controversial' opening of Primark. They were weary of our presence there to say the least.

On my return, Production Editor Josh Duffy asked me to direct for the bulletin on Wednesday.

As Chief Sub Editor, I was eager to refine WINOL's house style. On Tuesday, Brian sent me a copy of the mammoth BBC Style Guide, which I looked through and adapted the site. Don't worry, our style guide won't be hundreds of pages, but I will put one up pretty soon for the subs.

Then I went into the studio to do my first ever bit of directing! Veronica interviewed Seb Miell and Jez Davis about student issues and I had three camera angles to work with, depending on who was talking. Veronica told me the shots she wanted, we sorted them and she seemed happy with the vision mixing and how it went generally.

On Wednesday, we hit our first subbing issues (i.e. - we had our first stories in!) so I went through that - mainly with Seb. One of the main problems with reporters subbing stories on Word is it creates an annoying white border when it is copied into Joomla.

Then I went into the studio to prepare for directing the bulletin. Not enough time to prepare to be fair, but hey, it's a dummy! I left Rob to vision mix, thank goodness for him!

More on that on the debrief post.