Sunday Times football reporter Jonathan Northcroft inspires DMU Sports Journalism students with brilliant talk

by Azim Saiyed. DMU Sports Journalism student

DMU sports journalism students were given an inspiring talk by Jonathan Northcroft, Sunday Times Chief Football writer, about his career, how he got into journalism – and tips to make it as a sports reporter.

Jonathan, an award-winning sports reporter and acclaimed author, spoke to the third year Sports Journalism students as part of their final year option module.

During his talk, Jonathan offered helpful advice and said: “Look for what you know that other people don’t know. Find something to specialise in – research it, do it well – and put it together.

“There are many people covering the Premier League – but what can you do that’s different that isn’t being covered?”

He entertained the students with stories of players he had interviewed, big games he had covered – and not always getting it right.

On the ball: Jonathan Northcroft, centre, with the DMU Sports Journalism students.

Journalism, he said, was not a complicated discipline – but you had to practise and find your voice. The key was making games interesting and accessible.

“Imagine you’re going straight from the game and you’re meeting your mate at the bar,” he said. “What you tell him is, more or less, what your report should be. It’s no more complicated than that.”

He spoke for more than two hours and gave students expert advice on how to write a live match report and opinion column, which they have to do as part of their assessment.

Jayden Whitworth, third year sports journalism student, said it was a fascinating talk.

“I think it can sometimes be difficult to see a pathway in journalism, so to hear how he managed to get into the industry and work his way up into the position he is in now was interesting,” he said.

“For me, he has the dream job so hearing the stories of matches he has reported on was very inspiring.”

Lee Marlow, senior journalism lecturer at DMU, takes the Sports Journalism module.

“Jonathan has been a brilliant help to DMU students over the years. He lives locally, and he’s always been genuinely supportive of the students and the course.

“It’s great for the students to hear from professional sports reporters at the top of their game – and they don’t come much better than Jonathan Northcroft.”

Jonathan regularly attends live Premier League matches and sends his incisive reports on the final whistle. He also writes features, columns and ghost writes columns for  The Sunday Times.

He is also the author of ‘Fearless’, the story of Leicester City’s fairy-tale 2016 Premier League triumph.

Earlier this year, the Sports Journalism students enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of the King Power stadium, the home of Leicester City Football Club, and Welford Road, the home of the Tigers.

Press Box: Leicester City’s director of communications, Anthony Herlihy, addresses the DMU Sports Journalism students during a tour of the KP.

“It’s good to mix essential journalism lessons with visits and tours,” said lecturer Lee Marlow. “It makes the Sports Journalism lessons interesting and memorable.”

DMU Turkish Society raises donations to help people suffering from catastrophic Turkey and Syria earthquakes 

By Levi Keogh

One of the deadliest earthquakes recorded hit Turkey and Syria on February 6th, leaving behind death and destruction as cities collapsed and facilities crumbled.

The disaster has so far killed a reported 35,000+ people, with the UN predicting that this figure will double in the coming weeks.

In the wake of the tragedy, students at De Montfort University in Leicester have united to form a new society at immense speed, setting up a stand at the students’ union building every day to spread awareness and ask for donations to help the recovery of their homeland.

The size of the earthquake, and others since, was tremendous, leaving an image of hell on earth for those on the ground.

According to the Red Cross: “The epicentre of the first earthquake was near the Turkish city of Gaziantep, which is around 150 miles north of the Syrian border. The second, just hours later at 1.30pm local time, was further north in central Türkiye (Turkey).”

In a distressing statement, third year computer game programming student and member of the Turkish Society Onur Hisarli said: “There are 15 people who I know who have died.”

He was planning to travel home to his family in Turkey. Describing the mission of this society, he said: “This society is built for donations towards the earthquake, and it will remain as that.”

Thousands of homes have been destroyed. On top of that, roads and hospitals are also in ruins, meaning aid is difficult to find.

Days after the first earthquake, people were still being found alive under rubble. Onur explained: “There is a crack of 400km, a single crack [in the ground].

“The surface area it damaged is equivalent to 10 cities, with 60 to 70 percent of every building gone, including airports, hospitals and highways, which makes it tough to travel and bring supplies to those in need.”  

The world is now coming together to aid this catastrophe. It is a beacon of hope when people unite to help each other. 

Sending money from non profit charities is currently difficult, so if you would like to help you can visit the students’ union and speak with members of the society or donate via:

‘This has broken all our hearts’: candlelit vigil for Brianna Ghey held in Leicester

By Shaikha Rahimi

A candlelit vigil was held in the city centre to remember transgender teenager Brianna Ghey, who was stabbed to death in Cheshire earlier this month

Brianna’s vigil in Leicester.

Mourners gathered at the Clock Tower in Leicester on Saturday to pay tribute to murdered 16-year-old Brianna Ghey.

Vigils have been held across the UK in memory of Brianna, a transgender girl from Birchwood in Warrington, who was found with fatal stab wounds on a path in Linear Park, in Culcheth, Cheshire on Saturday, February 11.

The organiser of the Leicester vigil, Abi – who did not want to share her full name – told Leicestershire Press: “The vigil gave people from Leicester’s trans community the opportunity to pay tribute to Brianna and grieve together.

“The death of Brianna has broken all our hearts, especially of those who are the same age as her. The healing starts now. We won’t forget her and we won’t let hate towards us win.”

Local community comes together to honour and remember Brianna.

Bouquets of flowers were left by the Clock Tower. Many of the well-wishers held signs with messages to Brianna. One read: “Rest in pride.” Another said: “Trans rights are human rights.”

Among those who were present was Zak Fiken, a 21-year-old student at DMU. He told Leicestershire Press: “What we saw happen to Brianna was abhorrent and beyond comprehension. Above all else, she was a girl with her whole life ahead of her, which has now been taken.

“The trans community are some of the most marginalised in our society, and transphobia is becoming increasingly mainstream, Even at the vigil we heard transphobic abuse being shouted at us. Every line used against the trans community today was used against the gay community in the 80s.

“We will continue to fight for trans rights, and let Brianna be the last person to be killed.”

Dozens lit candles to remember the 16-year-old.

A boy and a girl, both aged 15, have been charged with Brianna’s murder. They appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on Wednesday, February 15, where a trial date was fixed for Monday, July 10.

Following her tragic death, Brianna’s family paid an emotional tribute to her, describing Brianna as “strong and fearless.”

They said that a “massive hole” had been left in their family after her death. The full statement issued through Cheshire police said: “Brianna was a much loved daughter, granddaughter, and baby sister.”

Roald Dahl sanitised for 21st century audiences

By Sophie Mundy, Jessica Martin, and Juniper Rose

Over the weekend, it has come to light that Puffin Books will be editing some Roald Dahl books in favour of more sanitised language and removing outdated racist, fatphobic and mental health comments in many of these childhood classics. 

Dahl is heralded by The Independent as “one of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th century”, selling over 250 million copies worldwide. He was born in 1916, and died in 1990 at the age of 74.


(picture wikimedia commons)

The books that will be changed include Matilda, and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach, among many others. 

These changes include switching the word ‘fat’ into ‘enormous,’ as well as amending the use of ‘black’ describing a tractor. 

Further changes to novels include Miss Spider from James and The Giant Peach no longer having her head described as ‘black’, the ‘Cloud-Men’ now being referred to as ‘Cloud-People’. Further novels have faced editing such as The Witches, in which a reference made towards women “working as a cashier in a supermarket or typing letters for a businessmen’ has been changed to “working as a top scientist or running a business.’ 

These changes are seemingly being made to abolish older stereotypes towards women’s employment and the current push to see more women within STEM careers.

The publisher, Puffin Books, said content deemed offensive, such as references to weight, mental health, violence, gender and race has been removed or rewritten to ensure Dahl’s classics can be enjoyed by all children.

However, these changes have been criticised by many academics and fans alike.

Joe Phelan, DMU lecturer and editor of 19th century poetry, said: “It would still, in my view, be wrong to rewrite texts from the past, because these texts are evidence of the way things used to be.

“A much better approach would be to present the texts of Roald Dahl’s novels with contextual discussion explaining the attitudes and beliefs of the times they were written in.” 

This censorship could question freedom of speech, and the fact that Roald Dahl, having died in 1990, cannot consent to these changes could be deemed as unethical censorship. 

“Freedom of speech, as long as it doesn’t constitute hate speech, and as long as it doesn’t impinge upon the rights of others, is something that in my opinion, needs to be protected,” Hila Shachar, Senior Lecturer in English Literature at DMU, said.

Sam Smith heckled by woman after GRAMMY performance

By Neeve Billimore, Heidi Adam, and Zoe Banda

Singer Sam Smith, 30, is suffering a backlash of abuse after their controversial GRAMMY Awards performance last week. 

On the 6th of February 2023, Smith took home the GRAMMY award for Best Pop Duo alongside transgender pop-star Kim Petras.

While many believe that the achievement should be celebrated, the negative response has thwarted the success of the collaboration, which has led to Petras being the first openly out, trans artist to win a major-category GRAMMY. 

This is an achievement that has been regarded as a momentous event in trans history.

“I’m the first transgender woman to win this award,” Petras said at her acceptance speech. She then went on to thank Smith for allowing her to accept the award.

Unfortunately Smith has become the subject of discourse that advocates for the censorship of their “evil” and “demonic” work.

The GRAMMY Awards are organized by the Recording Academy of the United States to recognise “outstanding” achievements in the music industry, and are annually presented.  They were first held in 1959. They are often regarded as the most significant awards in the music industry worldwide. 

Madonna introduced Smith before their performance, asking: “Are you ready for a little controversy?”

The performance of Smith and Petras’ song ‘Unholy’ featured Smith dressed as Satan and Petras within a cage surrounded by female dancers.

Following this performance, Smith gave yet another performance at the Brit Awards which ended with a raunchy kiss between their backup dancers and received similar complaints, over 100 of them being in the hands of Ofcom.

As a result of this discourse, Smith has become the target for verbal abuse. A video surfaced recently of the non-binary singer being verbally abused by a woman in the streets of New York.

They were accused of being a “demonic…pedophile” and told to “leave the kids alone.” The “Unholy” singer handled the situation by walking away in silence.

On the 23rd of January, Smith released a music video for their single ‘I’m Not Here To Make Friends’ for their new album ‘Gloria’, released on January 27th.

They received more backlash for the visuals within the video, people saying that the video is ‘pornographic’. People on twitter have come to defend Smith saying “If women can produce videos acting ‘vulgar’ and being ‘very sexual’, why can’t Sam Smith?”

Though, it seems , the negative response has diluted the defense of the singer, as they have been continuously ridiculed and called a “devil worshipper”. 

Smith has not publicly responded to the recent backlash, but has spoken about the abuse they got after they came out as non-binary and genderqueer during a 2019 interview with Jameela Jamil.

During a recent interview with Zane Lowe in January 2023, they said that they are “being abused in the street verbally” and have experienced being spat at in public.