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!


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


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.

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…

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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.

albert road.png

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

South Coast Emporium graphic

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.


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.


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

Eastney Beam Engine House is Essential Part of Portsmouth’s History

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


A vital piece of Portsmouth’s history opened its doors to the public last weekend.

Over 100 people visited Eastney Beam Engine House to view its restored Boulton and Watt engines and take part in family-friendly activities.

A variety of other pumping engines, many in running order, were also on display on the two open days.

The Grade II-listed Victorian building was built in 1887 in order to deal with sewage from the city.

Collection supervisor Tim Gower said: “It tells an essential part of the history of Portsmouth.” Continue reading

Hayter Header Doesn’t Prevent Hawks Heartbreak

Hawks fans look dejected after the full-time whistle

Havant & Waterlooville were today relegated from the Vanarama National League South, despite earning a 1 – 1 draw against Weston-super-Mare.

The Hawks went into the game knowing that a point could have been enough to keep them up, but St Albans City’s 4 – 0 victory over Dartford meant the Hampshire side went down on goal difference. Continue reading

Northeast Bows Out in Style

(Published in The Galleon and also featured on Somerset Stadiums)

Perry Northeast has now finished his reign as Portsmouth Ladies manager. The former Chichester City defender originally took over as Blues boss in 2013 in a co-manager role with Katy Poore, but announced he would leave the club just over a week ago.


In his three years in the hot seat he has won the Hampshire Challenge Cup on three occasions, got as far as the quarter-finals in the FA Cup and guided Pompey to the FA Women’s Premier League Southern Division.

This season, Northeast has led his team to fourth in the league – although they could still be overtaken by Coventry who have two games in hand – and he bowed out in style with a 2 – 1 win over Cardiff City in his final game. Continue reading