JMU Journalism’s news review of 2016

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President-elect Donald J. Trump meets UKIP’s Nigel Farage at Trump Tower in New York following his election victory. Pic © Nigel Farage Twitter

It has been a year full of huge and sometimes controversial changes, with the twin shocks of the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency, plus the final ruling of the new Hillsborough Inquests after 27 long years in search of justice.

As ever, JMU Journalism has provided the latest news and sports coverage from across Merseyside in our weekly newspaper, radio podcast, YouTube channel and on this website.

With another year of captivating stories for our reporters to cover, here are some of the highlights from the past 12 months.

Starting on a sombre note, the lives of so many famous and influential people were claimed this year, including David Bowie, Terry Wogan, Victoria Wood, Alan Rickman and more.

Locally, the death of Herbert Howe left the city saddened and paying tribute after the 72-year-old lost his long battle with cancer. The much-loved celebrity hairdresser would have been touched to know that more than 1,000 mourners attended his funeral at the Anglican Cathedral and paid their respects to one of Liverpool’s most recognisable figures.

YouTube: Laura Hughes, JMU Journalism

Tributes to Pete Burns, frontman of the band Dead or Alive, were also made following his sudden death, aged 57. The Wirral-born star died of a heart attack just five days before the release of his latest compilation album.

After dropping out of school and starting work at Probe Records in Liverpool city centre, Mr Burns rose to fame in the 1980s with the single ‘You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)’.

History was made when the United Kingdom voted by 52% to 48% to leave the European Union in a referendum that stunned the world, and David Cameron immediately stepped down as Prime Minister.

The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, meets JMU Journalism students at the Redmonds Building TV studio. Pic © JMU Journalism

Britain’s political leaders are now in talks about ending the UK’s 43-year-old membership of the EU. However, doubts persist about Brexit and a small majority of people in Liverpool supported the idea of a second referendum when asked by JMU Journalism.

In the original poll in June, Liverpool, Sefton and the Wirral produced majorities for the Remain campaign, while Halton, Knowsley and St Helens were among places reflecting the national picture where the Brexit vote prevailed.

Later in the year, one of the key figures in the national debate, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, took time out of his busy schedule to talk to JMU Journalism about Brexit, the state of the economy, and his love for Everton FC.

The 51-year-old Canadian fielded a range of tricky questions, and provided an overview of the state of the country’s financial health, along with the local outlook.

YouTube: JMU Journalism TV

At the Town Hall, Joe Anderson earned another mandate from the public and won a second term as Liverpool Mayor. However, Anderson was to lose a later poll to Walton MP, Steve Rotheram, in the race to become the Labour candidate to be Liverpool City Region Mayor in 2017.

In America, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to become the 45th President of the United States. The Republican candidate produced a massive upset by surpassing the 270 Electoral College votes needed to beat Democrat challenger, Clinton, and he is set to take office in January. The result stunned students at the Liverpool Guide of Students as they played host to one of the city’s many election parities.

YouTube: JMU Journalism

After more than two years of hearings, back in April the jury at the Hillsborough Inquests determined that the 96 Liverpool fans who died in the 1989 stadium disaster were unlawfully killed.

Focusing on more than 500 witnesses, 4,000 pages of documents and hours of video footage, the inquest decisions sparked an outpouring of emotion in the city, with a vigil held at St George’s Hall becoming the focal point.

Marking the final memorial service for the 96, around 22,000 people filled the Kop and Centenary Stand for the Hillsborough disaster’s 27th anniversary. The Hillsborough Family Support Group had made the decision to end the annual event earlier this year.

YouTube: JMU Journalism

In sporting news, Everton manager Roberto Martinez was sacked and replaced by Ronald Koeman following growing unrest among fans over sub-par results.

Ronald Koeman is the new Everton manager. Pic © Paul Blank Wikimedia Commons

Ronald Koeman became the new Everton manager. Pic © Paul Blank Wikimedia Commons

Martinez was relieved of his duties “with immediate effect” after just over three years in charge of the club, and Dutchman Koeman took the helm. After a promising start, his reign has since taken on a more frustrating perspective for Everton supporters, notably a heart-breaking 1-0 defeat in the Merseyside derby just before Christmas.

While the Red half of the city appears to have much more cause for optimism, Liverpool’s 2015/16 season ended in heartbreak in Basel as Sevilla secured a 3-1 victory in the UEFA Europa League final. The result left Liverpool with no European football at Anfield in this campaign, as Jurgen Klopp’s first term in charge of the club ended on a low note.

Tony Bellew retains his WBC Cruiserweight title after stopping BJ Flores at the Echo Arena. Pic Lawrence Lustig © Matchroom Boxing

Tony Bellew retains his WBC Cruiserweight title after stopping BJ Flores at the Echo Arena. Pic Lawrence Lustig © Matchroom Boxing

Elsewhere in sport, Everton fan Tony Bellew achieved his career-long dream of becoming world champion in a fight at the home of his beloved Blues at Goodison Park in May.

Later in the year, Bellew scored a count-out victory over BJ Flores to defend his WBC World Cruiserweight Championship title at the Echo Arena. The Wavertree boxer put Flores down three times in the second round and landed a left hook to the Arizona fighter’s chin, which sent him to the floor for the fourth and final time.

With the night belonging to Bellew, thoughts have now turned to his next defence, and an encounter against bitter rival, David Haye, has been lined up for 2017.

JMU Journalism Sport embarked on a journey from the classroom to Marine AFC in Crosby to cover Marine v Buxton in the Evo-Stik League Northern Premier. The students said the experience was invaluable and that it best prepared them for the world of sports journalism.

YouTube: Leigh Kimmins, JMU Journalism

On the news front, the creepy clown craze made its way to Liverpool, with at least 50 ‘Liverpool Clowns’ Instagram accounts posting threats about terrorising schools and the wider community. Originating in the United States, the craze involves people dressing up as clowns and attempting to scare the public. In Liverpool, the social media frenzy escalated following the first sighting of a man dressed as a clown driving a white van around the city centre.

Liverpool’s controversial River of Light fireworks event sparked a public backlash after thousands of people complained about the lack of atmosphere and poor pyrotechnics. Following the disappointing display, JMU Journalism took to Twitter to ask what people made of it and in the sample of 574 people, 83% said they wished they hadn’t bothered going, while 12% believed the event wasn’t bad, and 5% said they loved it.

YouTube: Amy Shirtcliffe, JMU Journalism

For the 13th consecutive year, Liverpool was awash with red and blue Santas in the build-up to Christmas, as the annual 5K charity dash returned. Starting from the Pier Head and finishing outside Liverpool Town Hall, the city won back the World Santa Challenge title from Las Vegas for the largest such spectacle worldwide.

YouTube: Paige Freshwater, JMU Journalism

The semester ended in a mood of celebration, with our festive ‘Christmas Jumper Newsdays‘ and the second annual JMU Journalism Christmas Ball, all in aid of the Macmillan Cancer Support charity.

Students and staff gathered at the Marriott Hotel in Liverpool city centre to attend the Christmas Ball, cementing the event’s status on our regular calendar following its debut last year.

Our efforts resulted in £1,084 being raised for Macmillan, beating last year’s total of £1,031.

JMU Journalism will continue to bring you the latest news and sport stories from Liverpool when we return in 2017. In the meantime, we would like to wish all of our readers, listeners and viewers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

YouTube: JMU Journalism 

About Paige Freshwater, JMU Journalism