Why UCLan is right to urge students not to report on Preston EDL march

26 11 2010

It’s caused a minor furore on Twitter and on blogs: “Concerned over safety, UCLan urges journalism students not to cover EDL march”. But why are people getting so wound up about it?

To be clear, I’m not writing this on behalf of UCLan’s journalism school (the school’s position was made clear in Laura Oliver’s article, linked to above), or even trying to represent a different view.

The reason I am writing this is because I think the criticism levelled at the decision is starting to become a bit unreasonable, I get the impression that some people believe the story is somehow an indication that UCLan is denying its journalism students the opportunities to practise journalism. I think this is nonsense.

I understand (as does the UCLan journalism school) that the EDL march will receive regional, and possibly national, coverage. For those that attend, there’s the chance to get a brilliant story.

But is it really so irrational of the school to say: “we cannot allow students to cover these events for any assignment or reporting exercise and we will not allow our equipment to be hired out”? The reasoning is clear and explicit – the department spoke to  practising industry professionals who will be there on Saturday. The school has clearly been warned of the potential dangers that students could encounter.

Telling students not to report on the march for university work passes absolutely the onus of responsibility onto the student. Through refusing to accept work about the march, UCLan is removing the possibility of students taking unnecessary risks in order to look good and get good marks. There is no reason for a student to take risks in order to attain good marks for their portfolio.

As I said in a brief exchange on Twitter to one of my peers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), if a student goes to the protest and gets injured, it was their idea, not the university’s. It was their own decision to go, for their own personal reasons.

While the school has told students not to report on the protest for university work, and have advised students to stay away following warnings, the department has NOT completely banned students from going, as some people seem to be inferring.

Do I plan on going to the EDL march? Yes I do, and I intend to take some pictures.

Of course, it’s a frustrating situation, but the alternative (ie. NOT to tell students not to attend for university work) is open to a lot more scrutiny, and it would be unprofessional of the university to be seriously warned about the dangers, and not to make their position unequivocally clear.


Sport Relief: Six miles of pain

17 03 2010

Peter (sober) and Ceri (drunk)

On 21 March 2010, I, and my housemate Ceri, shall be running six miles for Sport Relief.

Giving to charity is an excellent idea. Many weeks ago, the challenge of running six miles seemed like an excellent challenge.

Now, it seems like a very stupid idea. University work and general laziness has meant I have done the following amount of training:

Total hours of training: 0

The nearest I’ve got to training  is adopting a brisk walk if I’ve been late for a lecture or seminar. But the last time I covered a distance of six miles on foot was in the summer in the Lake District, and that was walking.

Below is the ‘story’ of how I’ve ended up in this disasterous (yet charitable position).  Also, this is the link to mine and Ceri’s fundraising page.

Any amount of sponsorship is welcome. Obviously, it’ll provide some form of motivation/consolation for me when I’m shuffling along the tarmac after two miles. But most importantly, it’s going to an excellent cause, and that, fundamentally, is why I’m willing to run weakly and pathetically six miles around a park in Preston. So go do it, please sponsor…



Once upon a time, in a mouse-infested house in central Preston, a student called Ceri was talking to her housemate, Peter, online.

The night before, Ceri had seen an advert for Sport Relief before watching Survivors. She enjoys watching Survivors – her favourite characters are Tom (because ‘he’s badass’) and Al (because ‘he’s funny’), but she does not like Sarah (because she’s a bit promiscuous) and Naj (because he’s a liability. He is though – he’d be much better going to school. Idiot).

Ceri, though, had been captivated by the Sport Relief advert. So, early on the afternoon of Wednesday 10 February, 2010, when she was talking online to Peter, she asked: “Wanna run a mile mate? For charity innit.” To which Peter replied: “Ooo! That sounds mightily spiffing! Let’s do it!”

They then had to make a serious decision: one mile, three miles, or six miles. Such is Peter and Ceri’s genius, they opted for six miles.

However, fear not dear reader. Peter and Ceri are extremely active people. They are very ‘outdoorsy’. Every day, at least twice, Ceri does her smoke-a-cigarette workout. It involves smoking a cigarette. Most da

ys, Peter ventures outside, come rain or rain (it’s Preston, so ‘shine’ is rare), to buy any or all of the following: a newspaper, chocolate bars, biscuits, ice cream, beer, pie (with mushy peas and gravy, from Greenhalghs).

So as you can see, beloved reader and prospective giver-of-money, Ceri and Peter are well-equipped for this self-destructive event.

The money they raise will go to Sport Relief, helping those in need both home and abroad.

If you’re not bothered about the charitable side, Ceri and Peter will not be happy with you for not donating – and they’re going to be journalists, they’re going to be in the ‘fourth estate’. They will have power. You want to be on their good side.

So to be on their good side, please DONATE! The more the better, but donate whatever you can afford. If you do donate, Ceri and Peter will run six miles, and one day you can claim a free hug from them.