Senior University Teacher
Mark studied English Literature and Language at Oxford University before training as a reporter. He worked on newspapers for 18 years for various titles including the Western Daily Press, Sheffield Morning Telegraph and Sheffield Star, specialising in crime reporting and investigations, and also for The Observer as northern reporter. He won awards at national and regional level, including Provincial Journalist of the Year in the British Press Awards. He joined the Department of Journalism Studies as a lecturer in 1996, and was promoted to senior lecturer in 2008.
Since 2009 Mark has been co-author of McNae's Essential Law for Journalists. Among UK journalists this is the best known legal and ethical handbook, and is kept in many newsrooms. It was first published in 1954. The most recent edition – the 22nd – was published in 2014. It is also a leading textbook for university journalism departments. Mike Dodd, legal editor of the Press Association national news organisation, is co-author.
Mark tweets on media law, ethics and journalism generally. His Twitter account is @MarkHannaMedia.
Mark's research interests are media ethics, media law, investigative journalism, court reporting and journalism history.
His research has included the biggest survey yet conducted of UK journalism students, at 10 universities. The data have been published in international academic journals. Students were asked their views on journalism's roles in society and on media ethics. This data helped assess how staff can best teach these topics.
Mark has written about the characteristics of the UK journalism workforce, controversies concerning media coverage of family courts in the UK, and concern about 'chequebook journalism' in media payments to witnesses in court cases.
Mark teaches JNL 206 Media Law to undergraduates and JNL6009 Law for Journalists to postgraduates. These modules deal with UK law on freedom of expression, libel, privacy, copyright, contempt of court, restrictions on court coverage, anonymity for victims of sexual offences, and other legal issues.
Media law is a fascinating subject because of the range of human life and topical events covered. Understanding laws affecting the media is an essential part of understanding journalism culture.
These modules deliver the law syllabus of the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). It also meets the requirements of the Broadcast Journalism Training Council and the Periodicals Training Council (magazines) for law tuition. The textbook is McNae's Essential Law for Journalists. Mark's teaching draws on his research as its co-author (see above), referring to some of his own experiences of the law, as a reporter.
Mark teaches the JNL6014 Ethics and Regulation module to postgraduates. This is primarily concerned with journalism ethics and regulation of the media in the UK, but some lectures have an international context. Media ethics and how this subject is taught are among Mark's research interests.
Mark also lectures to undergraduates in JNL109 Ethics and Journalism (a module led by Tony Harcup).
The University's Research Ethics Committee has included JNL6014 and JNL109 in its 'best practice' guide for the consideration of ethics in the curriculum.
Mark teaches the JNL319 Introduction to Investigations module to third year undergraduates. This aims to introduce them to the techniques, methodology and historical tradition of investigative journalism in the UK. It was the first module of its kind in the UK at undergraduate level, and the first to include a requirement for students to use the Freedom of Information Act to gain information from public bodies, including government departments. Students critique their own performance in some of the assessment. They can achieve excellent marks by recognising how they might have approached the task differently, as well by explaining what they have achieved.
Investigative journalism and how it is taught are also among Mark's research interests. He has contributed a chapter to the book Investigative Journalism: context and practice, edited by Hugo De Burgh.
Mark has also supervised undergraduates and postgraduates in dissertation modules.
Mark is a personal tutor to undergraduate and postgraduate students. Personal tutors meet their students individually, ideally each semester, to offer advice on their studies and to discuss career aims.
Since June 2006 Mark has been chair of the media law examination board of the National Council for the Training of Journalists, having served on it since 2002. He has been a member of the NCTJ's Journalism Qualifications Board since it was formed in 2008 to oversee the content and structure of all NCTJ qualifications.
Mark has played a role in the leadership and administration of the Association for Journalism Education (AJE), which represents around 50 universities in the UK and Ireland which teach journalism. He was one of the founder, individual members of the AJE when it was launched in 1997. He served on its executive committee as AJE treasurer in most years from 2001 to 2010. The AJE holds conferences and seminars to discuss best practice in teaching methods, and research into journalism.
Mark has been an external examiner for journalism degrees at five other UK universities.