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Reflecting on a group project…

As part of my Multimedia Journalism masters, we have recently created an online website as a group. Once we were assigned certain groups, and decided on what questions we were going to focus on, we began creating the project.

In order to diverge the work between each individual, we decided on two separate groups to investigate the two stores; David, Danella and Stephanie were to do the ‘Coalition government’ question, and Ashleigh and I were focusing on question two; ‘How will the steep rise in university fees next year hinder the North West’s standard of education?’ David volunteered to use his website template from the previous assignment so we had a HTML product to send everything to.

It was ideal that Ashleigh and I were working on a subject based around tuition fees, as it ran parallel with a similar project we were working on as part of the Broadcast unit. We decided together who we needed to speak to and how we were to find the information.

In order to meet all the requirements set by the assessment criteria, we had to make sure we included interviews, vox pops, data journalism, audio/video/pictures for the media aspects of the site, and of course a strong and fluent article.

Ashleigh and I decided that in order to have a fluent argument, it was necessary to meet up regularly to compare results. I rang Manchester Metropolitan University, UCAS, Manchester City Council and contacted local MP’s in order to ensure a balanced argument throughout the article. We both filmed a vox pop with current students to ask how they felt about the rise in tuition fees and whether they believe that this rise will affect the standard of education in North West. We also believed it was relevant to get the opinion of perspective students in order to find out whether the rise will affect the opinion of future students.

The data we found supported our argument; the rise in tuition fees puts perspective students off higher education through the fear of daunting debt. We understood that some students were still planning to attend university, but the tuition fees caused them more concern. We also found a counter argument that if students are paying more money, the education they receive should improve. However, if less people are going to university, as the figures show, the North West will be less educated; therefore the standard of education will be affected. We understand that the rise only takes action in September, therefore it is difficult to give a definite answer, however we predict that it will have a negative effect.

We also found that members of the university admission departments were happy to assist with our investigation, however, local MP’s and members of the council were not as cooperative.

Overall, I feel the project has been a success. I believe the only negative aspect of this assignment has been organising everybody’s role. As masters students, we all work and live in different areas, however I understand this is realistic to real life work therefore I am happy with our outcome.

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I love this

Sarah Forshaw's Blog

It is no secret that I adore the 50’s. So I thought I might do a post on why I should’ve been around during that time!

1. The cars!!! Oh my word the cars from the 50’s are art in motion!

2. The music! I for one am more of a Cash fan than a Presley! I mean Elvis is great and all, but no one can touch Johnny Cash!

3. The hairstyles! No lazy ugly hair here! Even when the women would put their hair up in a ponytail it was still gorgeous!

4. The clothes! My goodness why oh why are these styles not the norm anymore?

5. What was considered beautiful for the time! Back when the women who were the icons of beauty actually had normal looking figures! Now I will not say only real women have curves, because there are plenty of girls who are naturally very slim!…

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How far is too far?


In this growing society of heterosexual-ism and in a world where ‘sex sells’…how far will it go until we leave nothing to the imagination.

I am exploring this topic as a good friend of mine recently felt the effects of society’s relaxed approach to sex. After enjoying a beautiful meal at Piccolino’s in Bramhall, Cheshire (I strongly suggest you check it out) whilst finishing her crisp glass of ice-cold pinot, her boyfriend of four years revealed that he had received a lap dance with two of his friends as a ‘joke’ at the end of a night out. After hearing his shocking revelation, and filled with feelings of betrayal and disgust, she left the restaurant as quick as she could, much to the intrigue of fellow diners.

Her boyfriend was shocked at her instant reaction and believed he had no reason to apologise; apparently this kind of ‘end-of-the-night antics’ is completely normal for men in their early twenties. But is it?

I can’t help but feel that men cannot see the problem in paying half naked women money to dance for them, when they have perfectly beautiful girlfriends waiting for them at home. However, why do they then feel the need to keep it from their wives/girlfriends?

I understand this concept of ‘window shopping.’ Don’t get me wrong, I think everyone, male and female, are guilty of straying their eyes from time to time and admiring others; let’s face it, we all appreciate the finer things in life! But how comfortable would you be if your man had another girl dance on him in attempt to get him aroused?

I would be a hypocrite if I said I hate strip clubs, as I have been known to go in them after night out and appreciate that they are often places that people go with their friends to carry on drinking; sometimes you just don’t want the night to end! I would also like to make it clear that I am in no way criticising the girls that work there; after all, they are confident women that are making money.

I am simply interested to know how boyfriends can justify other women dancing for them as ‘fun’ and ‘a drunken laugh with the lads.’ I tried to explain this to my friend but it made me realise, there is no female equivalent.

I know we have male stripper shows, and these are so much fun, but I believe the dynamics are completely different. A room filled with oiled-up body builders in pink leather thongs, gyrating on groups of champagne fuelled women, seems worlds apart from a one-on-one dance with an almost-naked girl in a room on their own. I feel I would not be alone in my judgement.

Or would I? Part of me believes that a large part of a man’s mentality would be the bravado in front of his friends. No man wants to feel that somebody owns them, or admit to their friends, especially after a few beers, that they can’t join in with what the rest are doing, because of the ‘missus.’ Additonally, is the public obsession with sex in general starting to erase of the line between what is acceptable. What I am saying is that recently, even pop stars use sex as an instrument to appeal to fans. Take Rihanna for example, and can I just say I LOVE her, she gives audience members a seductive dance as part of her show, male or female. We just see this as sexy and eccentric.

Rihanna at her gig in Barbados, performing 'Man Down.'


Let me know what you think ladies. Where does the problem lie with men and strip clubs? Or isn’t there one at all; are we in a society where sex and sensuality is no longer embarrassing? Please let me know what you think.

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Another New Years Eve…


Phone call after phone call, as soon as Christmas day had passed, in came the questions and organisation of what we are going to do this New Years Eve.

But surely it’s just another Saturday night? At only 21, I feel exhausted by the pressures to have the best night of the year. When really, I only see it as an opportunity for pubs, clubs, bars and even taxi services, to charge extortionate prices in order to feed societies desperation to outdo plans year in and year out.

Now in saying this, I don’t want you to think I am sinking into a boring Grinch-like depression at such a young age; quite the opposite. I have enjoyed a brilliant Christmas, surrounded by lots of friends and family…and lots of red wine. However, I am tired of the anxiety that surrounds this one particular night of the year.

I understand it is tradition to start the year as you mean to go on. However, I do not wish to start mine stood waiting, freezing cold, in an outrageously long queue, only to enter somewhere equally as busy and twice as expensive. I hope I am not alone in my thinking?

Now don’t get me wrong, I won’t be sat alone in my bedroom with a bottle of wine and Bridget Jones on the television. I will be seeing my friends and having a good time, where ever that may be. I just can’t  understand the tiresome organisation that goes into this one particular night, when I’m sure all of us have enjoyed other nights out considerably more for a fraction of the price and no way near as much pressure. I think people start to forget that it happens every year.

My idea of a great New Years Eve would be all of my loved ones together, listening to music we enjoy and drinking whatever we may fancy in an attempt to bring the New Year in with happiness and enjoyment. That being said, I do hope that everybody has a lovely night and an enjoying start to 2012.

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Downton Abbey returns

Once the Baileys had been poured and the mince pies eaten, I sat down to what I had eagerly awaited all week; the Downton Abbey Christmas special – and it definitely did not disappoint.

The finale of the previous series had left us in intentional suspense. After the death of the delectable Miss Lavinia Swire, would Captain Crawley do what we all wanted and confess his obvious love for the viewers’ favourite, Lady Mary. Also, what was the fate of Mr Bates? He was facing death after being set up for the death of his poisonous ex-wife. And where was Lady Sybil after leaving Downton for the family driver; much to her elders’ dismay. All of these stories, and more, were the reason I simply could not wait for nine o’clock on the big day.

From the opening credits, I quickly remembered the absorbing and endearing representation of Britain’s elite in 1919. With the fabulous costume design, adventurous camera angles, and sinister looks, the two hour Christmas special was everything I had hoped for.

Knowing the producers enjoyment in keeping the viewer in constant anticipation, I am not afraid to admit that I let out a yelp of disbelief when Mr Bates’ fate was read out to him; death.  Similarly, and equally as honest, I also cried with tears of compassion and thankfulness that the shows most eligible bachelor was finally going to marry the delightfully beautiful, eldest daughter, Mary. To top off this happiness, Mr Bates’ wife Anna, was ecstatic to understand that her husbands’ journey was not over yet; although it was still life-imprisonment, it was still ‘life’ after all.

However, not all loose ends were tied up. After receiving rejection and humiliation, was Sir Robert going to expose Lady Mary’s mistakes in order to sabotage her happiness with Matthew? And will Lord Grantham finally see footman Thomas for what he is? Conniving, sly and full of his own ambition. All of these will hopefully be answered in the following series to hit our screens in 2012.

The only disappointment I felt with the return of Downton Abbey was when it finished and the credits rolled. I will now have to wait months for Maggie Smith’s brilliant wit, and the hate, love and lust pouring from our screens through this outstanding representation of our countries aristocracy.

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After its first release in 1994, Walt Disney phenomenon The Lion King, returned to the big screen, this time in 3D.

The 1990’s began on a high for the Disney Company, with the release of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Lion King; the latter being arguably the last great hand drawn animation movie before the dawn of the computer era.

This anticipation and the outstanding development of the computer age, were factors contributing to my eagerness as to how this 17 year old picture would hold out on the big screen. Would newer and more technically enhanced Pixar films place old classics such as this, in the shadow? And would placing a 3D spin on the film really make any difference?

My anticipation however, was quickly put to rest during the opening credits. Sat readily, sporting my 3D glasses and surrounded by all ages; Mums, Dads, Grandparents, Teenagers and of course, children, Simba was thrust into the air to the soaring sound of Elton John’s ‘Circle of Life.’

The film, I can say with ease, is every bit as good as you remember. Although the 3D effect does not make a major difference, visually, the time passed makes you appreciate the movies brilliance all the more. From the birth of the future king, the up tempo sing-a-longs and the beauty and depth caused from Mufasa’s (James Earl Jones) tragic death, the vocal talent and outstanding performances prove that this feature is by no means a product of a bygone era.

By all predictions, this re-release exceeded all expectation and then some. Despite the 3D presentation not altering the viewing quality greatly, the experience of seeing The Lion King on the big screen was pure magic and proof that quality film making can never go out of style.

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“I do…Don’t I?”

Reality star beauty Kim Kardashian, shocked fans and critics after announcing she was to divorce her NBA player husband after only 72 days.

Only 10 days after ‘Kim’s Fairytale Wedding’ aired in the UK, Kim, 31, filed for divorce from Kris Humphries and the twitter world went into over drive.

There have been rumours that the marriage was for the television, and that millions of dollars have been made as a result of this ceremony. However, Kim told fans on her website: “These reports are simply not true and it makes me so sad to have to even clarify this.”

Whether or not money was made from the wedding however is not the only question being asked.  It seems that both fans and celebrities have sparked outrage at the attitude shown towards marriage; isn’t marriage a holy sanctity and a lifelong commitment?

Celebrity blogger and friend of the Kardashians, Perez Hilton expressed his concern, criticising the approach of marital laws. He tweeted: “I love Kim Kardashian, but as a gay man in America who is treated as a second class citizen when it comes to civil marriage, I am offended!” He then followed this tweet saying “Straight people do a damn well good job themselves of ruining the sanctity of marriage! #MarriageForALL.”

Another American reality star, Jennifer ‘Jwoww’ Farley, who shot to fame on MTV’s Jersey Shore, expressed her opinion. She tweeted: “My best friend Joey and his man have been together 6 years and can’t get married but… Well you know where I’m going with this.” This ironic statement was left just hours after the divorce was announced.

Whether you are a fan of the star or not, it cannot be argued that 72 days is shorter than anybody had anticipated for Kim Kardashian’s happily ever after, she claims the marriage “just didn’t turn out to be the fairy tale I had so badly hoped for.”

So, who will be the next man in her life? Only time will tell. All we do know is thousand s of eligible bachelors have been given a glimpse of hope as to who will be Kim’s next Prince Charming.

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Hello world!

Well here I go…

I have never written a blog before but there is always a first.

I am starting a career in Multimedia Journalism and I understand this is where to start.

With a passion for Literature and analysis, I feel I will soon get the blogging bug and you will see me here a lot.

Please enjoy my posts and give your opinion.

Here goes