Work placement at Somerset Live

(Originally published on the University of Portsmouth’s Journalism Medium page. Links to some of the stories I wrote during my placement are included below.)

I recently spent two weeks at Somerset Live, a news website that covers the county and is the online home of various print publications such as the Western Gazette.

I worked on a variety of weird and wonderful stories, such as a woman from Frome who made leather boots for Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron, a telephone box that might be turned into a mini-library and Val from The Great British Bake-Off walking across the Great Wall of China for charity.

More challenging tasks included interviewing an exercise rider who had just been airlifted to hosptial after falling from a horse on Colin Tizzard’s gallops. The brave woman assured me it was “just part of the job.” I’ll stick to journalism, a generally less dangerous industry!

I also spent time on the sports desk, covering Yeovil Town’s press day and pre-season matches. As a Glovers fan, it was a great experience, although I did find it difficult not to celebrate when they scored!

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The most valuable part of the placement was discovering how a real news room works and putting my skills into practice. It was also great to be able to find out the tricks used to engage their online audience. Continue reading

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Edgar Gets it Wright Again

(Originally published on the No. 6 Cinema website, available to read online here.)

Edgar Wright’s journey from Channel 4 sitcom (Spaced) to summer blockbuster (Baby Driver) – with a cult Cornetto-based trilogy in the middle – is impressive in itself. The fact that he’s pulled his latest project off to almost absolute perfection is even more remarkable.

Baby Driver has an interesting set-up: a fresh-faced getaway driver uses music to drown out his tinnitus. This concept creates some stand-out scenes that see the soundtrack become masterfully interwoven with the film’s plot.

As Baby (B-A-B-Y, Baby) waits patiently outside a bank for the rest of the heist crew, he turns on the wiper blades in time to the beat of the song he’s listening to on his iPod. As he walks down the street the next day, the lyrics appear on the street signs and walls that he glides past as if by magic. Continue reading

Heroic Driver Prevents Explosion After Van Fire in Bristol

A heroic driver acted bravely to remove flammable gas cylinders from the back of his van after it caught fire.

Emergency services have said that an explosion could have occurred had the cylinders not been removed.

Fire fighters had to respond quickly to the blazing vehicle on Bond Street in Bristol earlier today.

Nearby offices were evacuated and the road was closed off for hours, but there were no injuries.

Somerset Live ‘Fan’s View’

On Monday, I took part in Somerset Live’s new ‘Fan’s View’ feature, which gives Yeovil Town supporters the chance to voice their opinions.

I was interviewed before the crucial fixture against Crewe Alexandra, which the Glovers impressively won 3 – 0. You can see the video online by following the link in the tweet below.

Under 12s helped by Burgess need sponsors

(Originally published in The News, available to read online here)

will-chittyAN UNDER-12s football team which was treated to a surprise training session by a Pompey player has revealed it is struggling to find a shirt sponsor.

Skilful Soccer Youth received worldwide media attention after Portsmouth FC’s Christian Burgess turned up to a training session last month.

The defender was contacted by coach Will Chitty after tweeting that he was at a loose end because Pompey’s League Two fixture away to Crawley had been…

Read more at: http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/under-12s-football-team-treated-to-training-session-with-pompey-player-burgess-need-sponsors-1-7822953

Costa Coffee: a threat to Albert Road’s ethos?

Up and down the country, local shopping centres and high streets are beginning to look almost identical. Each one has the same old clothing retailers, same old fast food joints and same old coffee shops.

Albert Road in Southsea, Portsmouth is a notable exception. Instead of having endless chain stores, it boasts half a mile of shops which are almost all owned by independent traders.

This is what many claim gives the road its unique atmosphere, and the eclectic mix of weird and wonderful shops have also ensured a quirky and trendy reputation, which in turn attracts an equally quirky and trendy clientele.

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Instead of Primark and New Look, there is Dress Code, a 90s-themed clothes shop which proudly caters for both “dudes” and “chicks”.

Instead of Burger King and KFC, Albert Road-regulars often eat at the nearby Pie and Vinyl. As the name suggests, the establishment sells both pies and vinyl records, a winning combination that has seen the restaurant become massively popular.

And instead of Café Nero, the area has Café Au Cinema, which is ideal for coffee lovers and film buffs due to the fact that it is both an independent cinema as well as a coffee house.

In fact, there is a plethora of independent coffee shops to choose from including Aurora, Home Coffee, Hunter Gatherer and more. Up until now, they have all existed in peace and harmony, but something has threatened to change that.

Plans have emerged for Costa Coffee, a multinational chain, to turn a currently empty shop right in the heart of Albert Road into a new branch. Predictably, there has been uproar. Continue reading

The shop that offers vinyl, massages and tarot card readings

With many high streets losing their identity as they surrender to chain stores and well-known retail brands, the South Coast Emporium is a rarity.

Areas of the shop are rented out to local artists, crafters and collectors, leading to an eclectic mix of quirky and bizarre products.

You can find everything from naval memorabilia to restored road signs, and there’s even a coffee shop which transforms into a popular bar in the evenings.

T.J. Jackson, the man in charge of the Southsea store, explains how the system can help local traders kick-start their businesses.

 

Lee Bradbury learning through adversity with Havant & Waterlooville

Tears on the terrace. Fans on the floor. Heads in hands. That was the reaction to Havant & Waterlooville being relegated from the National League South. They had just drawn 1 – 1 with Weston-Super-Mare, but it wasn’t enough to save them.

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Havant & Waterlooville fans react to their team being relegated

Relegation always hurts, but being sent down on goal difference must have made it extra painful for the Hampshire club and its fans.

Just eight months later, things are different, as the Hawks are flying high in the Isthmian League. They’ve lost on just four occasions so far, as they aim to get back to the level where they feel they belong.

However, despite the mood around Westleigh Park being a far more positive one these days, manager Lee Bradbury still doesn’t hide the heartbreak that he felt on that fateful day in April.

“It was awful,” Bradbury says. “We found ourselves in a position that, myself included up until about five games to go, didn’t think we’d ever be in. Continue reading

Tree Honours Memory of Centre’s Founding Member

(Originally published on About My Area, available to read online here)

A tree ceremony led by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth took place in Eastney on Sunday 4th December.

Councillor David Fuller helped plant a tree in the memory of Alan Dart, a founding member of Eastney Area Community Association, in front of over a dozen spectators.

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A second tree was planted in honour of all past and present volunteers of the community centre’s Tuesday Club.

Councillor Fuller said: “I was absolutely honoured to be here and to see what goes on in Eastney Community Centre, and to hear about these people who have devoted so much help to the centre.” Continue reading