JMU Journalism’s news review of 2013

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Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher and Anne Williams all died in 2013. Pics © Wikipedia/Creative Commons & JMU Journalism (Anne Williams)

Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher and Anne Williams all died in 2013. Pics © Wikipedia/Creative Commons & JMU Journalism (Anne Williams)

It’s been another mammoth year for JMU Journalism, as a new website team took over the reins, and our sister publication, the Liverpool Life newspaper, went from strength to strength.

As ever, there was no shortage of big news to report on, so join us as we take a look back at some of Merseyside’s top stories over the past 12 months.

The deaths of Nelson Mandela and Margaret Thatcher generated an outpouring of emotion in Liverpool and around the world, though it can be said that the reaction to the passing of Britain’s first female Prime Minister was much less warm locally. Shortly before Nelson Mandela’s death, the people of Liverpool voted him as the person they admire the most in our exclusive street poll.

Liverpool’s own ‘Iron Lady’, Hillsborough campaigner Anne Williams, also died this year – just days after attending the 24th anniversary memorial service for the disaster. Although she lost her brave battle with cancer before seeing justice for the death of her son Kevin, she lived long enough to know that the original inquest verdicts had been quashed, paving the way for fresh inquests in 2014, as the fight for justice for the 96 over Hillsborough entered its 25th year.

Protesters took to the streets on several occasions during the year, beginning in January when Prime Minister David Cameron visited our city to launch the International Festival for Business in 2014. 

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson talks to JMU Journalism. Pic by Jack Maguire

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson talks to JMU Journalism. Pic by Jack Maguire

Hundreds chanted outside the Town Hall chambers to object to budget cuts, library closures and the rise in council tax in March. Mayor Joe Anderson told JMU Journalism he respects their right to protest but he urged the public not to engage in civil disobedience.

Elsewhere, there were numerous local and national protests against the government’s controversial ‘bedroom tax’, while Merseyside football fans flocked to London to join in a demonstration against expensive match ticket prices.

The government gave its backing to the huge £5.5bn Liverpool Waters scheme, by declaring that a public inquiry will not be held, which saw much opposition from campaigners over concerns that the city will lose its UNESCO World Heritage Site status. It was also revealed that local people could lose out to jobs with the development because of a government-funded work programme.

The city’s iconic Yellow Duckmarines came under fire when two of the vessels sank in the Albert Dock in March and June, as some passengers were taken to hospital after the incidents. The owners of the tourist attraction, Pearlwild Ltd, announced that they had gone into administration and the Yellow Duckmarines have ceased operating.

Liverpool in the snow, March 22nd 2013. Pictures by Ida Husøy

Liverpool in the snow, March 22nd 2013. Pictures by Ida Husøy

Back in January, bad weather bought the city to a standstill, as snow and ice caused travel chaos and school disruption; the snow made an unwelcome return in March, causing similar problems during Easter.

A heatwave gripped the city in July, and with temperatures soaring to over 30C, the Met Office issued a level three warning to health care groups in the North West to protect those at high risk.

The year also saw a host of exclusives, including Cherie Blair giving a rare interview in November to talk about the city she grew up in. In February, the Archbishop of Liverpool, the Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, told JMU Journalism about his surprise at the announcement by Pope Benedict XVI that he had resigned as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

TV presenter and JMU Journalism graduate Alex Brooker returned to his roots to address our students, and Strictly Come Dancing champion Abbey Clancy spoke of the difficulties juggling her professional and personal life as a mum.

Queen guitarist Brian May reflected on his time as chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University as he handed over the role to a ‘proud’ Sir Brian Leveson.

Edward Snowden shocked the world with revelations about the level of surveillance undertaken by the US National Security Agency. It later emerged that Snowden had studied with the University of Liverpool.

Liverpool and the Wirral from space © Chris Hadfield/Twitter

Liverpool and the Wirral from space © Chris Hadfield/Twitter

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield gave us all an insight into what Merseyside looks like from space with his stunning picture, while our very own reporter, Ida Husøy, gained international fame after her photo of Liverpool engulfed in fog caused a social media storm.

In sport, Everton FC saw manager David Moyes leave the club for Manchester United after the shock retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in May, and then welcomed Roberto Martinez in as his replacement.

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher retired from the game, but the Reds were boosted when Luis Suarez signed a new long-term deal after a summer when his departure seemed inevitable

There was Grand National victory for outsider Auroras Encore at the annual Aintree event. The Liverpool-born Smith brothers made UK boxing history by being the first family to hold three British titles concurrently, and Level 3’s football team won the annual JMU Journalism World Cup in April by beating the Alumni on penalties after a dramatic 4-4 draw.

Level 3 celebrate as they win the 2013 JMU Journalism World Cup Final on penalties

Level 3 celebrate as they win the 2013 JMU Journalism World Cup Final on penalties

More than 10,000 Santas descended on town in December for the annual Santa Dash, but the world record was taken when rivals Las Vegas eclipsed Liverpool’s total with over 11,000 taking part in Nevada. However, thousands of pounds were raised for ITV’s Text Santa appeal.

Liverpool ended the year with the sad news that one of the city’s most recognisable institutions, the Liverpool Post, has ceased publication after 158 years

We would like to wish all our readers a Happy New Year and here’s to an even more successful 2014.

About Nathan Pearce, JMU Journalism