Two Leicester professors are having their book published after almost a decade of hard work

By Katie McKenna

Waiting for print day: Paul Smith in his office, having completed his book.

After almost a decade of hard work, a De Montfort University professor finally has his book on the verge of being published.

Dr Paul Smith, a 48-year-old associate professor working at De Montfort University, is finally on the verge of having his media textbook published following several years of continuous work.

The book was co-authored by Dr Vincent Campbell of the University of Leicester.

“I suppose in a sense it was like a collaboration between DMU and the University of Leicester,” Dr Smith said.

“The idea came to us in a car ride about 7 or 8 years ago. We were complaining about how the textbooks back then were so old-fashioned – refusing to acknowledge recent media developments and choosing to focus on the old media instead.”

The theme of the soon-to-be-published book is how the rise of the internet has changed the shape of media – giving special attention to every major media industry.

‘We had the idea on the back-burner and worked casually on it for years – up until our publisher started to ask where the book was!

“I put a lot of work into it during the summer this year.

“I have two boys – 12 and 15. I wish I could’ve been able to spend more time with them.

“We had a family holiday planned two weeks before the deadline and we still had one more chapter to finish. My wife insisted that I wasn’t allowed to work on holiday!”

Finally, work on the book was finished and the deadline was met.

When asked about his goals with the book, Dr Smith said: “Partly, we wanted to create a book that asked interesting questions about the current state of media. But we also wanted it to be a valuable resource for all students, even if many don’t even have the opportunity to read it.”

He is already moving onto his next project, focusing on his other passion – sports media.

The British Media Industry – An Introduction is set to be released in early 2023.

Local radio cutbacks: ‘BBC bosses have taken their eyes off the ball’ says former Radio Leicester legend

By Safiyyah Choudry

BBC Leicester legend Martin Ballard describes local radio as “a jewel that should be preserved” as the station faces staffing cuts.

Radio Leicester has a special significance and place in local radio, as it was one of the first local stations introduced by the BBC in the 1960s.

Today (November 8) is the 55th anniversary of the station, and in an exclusive interview, the former presenter says he fears that the cuts will silence the “friendly voice in the corner of the room”.

Mr Ballard, 61, has produced and presented a plethora of programmes covering countless elections, budgets and major sporting events, to name a few. Throughout his career spanning almost four decades, he worked predominantly for BBC Radio Leicester.

He expressed his sadness towards the looming cuts and explained that once there is shared programming, “the keyword in local radio doesn’t work anymore because it’s no longer local.”

Taking East Midlands Today as an example, he said: “People in Leicester who watch East Midlands Today will say they get fed up with hearing about Nottingham, and people in Nottingham say they get fed up with hearing about Leicester.”

Mr Ballard believes that removing the relatable aspects of local radio diminishes its duty to be relevant. He said the audience of BBC Radio Leicester would feel unsatisfied with the unspecialised content. He said: “The BBC hierarchy have taken their eyes off the ball.”

The government has expressed “concern” and “disappointment” towards the scheme, which will see all 39 stations start to share the same shows at certain times of the day. The stations will continue with their own local programming from 6am to 2pm on weekdays. After 2pm, the BBC will broadcast 18 afternoon programmes across England.

Rhodri Talfan Davies, director of Nations at the BBC, strongly advocates the planned changes.

“These proposals aim to maintain the distinctiveness of our local services while allowing the BBC to adapt with our audiences and ensure we remain relevant.”

“Of course, change is never easy – and we will work closely with all our colleagues to introduce these plans sensitively and fairly. BBC Local Radio remains an essential service for millions of listeners – the very best local radio network in the world – but it’s also essential we make difficult choices that will enable us to reach out to many people that increasingly rely on their mobiles for local content.”

All changes will be made in phases and finalised by the end of 2023.

Seen it, heard it, read it: Lauren Sadler

Students on De Montfort University’s Arts and Entertainment Journalism module pick the films, plays, music, TV shows and books that shaped them

My favourite film

I would say Spirited Away. It’s such a beautifully drawn movie, with such cute details it’s impossible not to love it. The plot is good, and it has a happy ending so it’s never going to be a bad watch. The scene where Chihiro holds her breath crossing the bridge stresses me out. I always try to see if I would be able to hold my breath the entire way. So far, I don’t think I’d make it.

The first time I went to the theatre

I was in primary school and we were a little group of ukulele players. We must have been around 6 or 7 I think. They told us if we brought our own ukuleles we could perform with them on stage. So I did, but they wouldn’t let me as they hadn’t tuned it. I couldn’t understand and I was scared I was going to lose mine (which I was attached to emotionally). As we’re all sat on stage waiting for the curtain to come up to perform for our parents, I’m just sobbing. I think they realised I wasn’t going to calm down, so they quickly tuned it in the wing, and ran over and gave it to me before the curtain came up.

The TV show I’m hooked on

Without a doubt, Squid Game. I’m a sucker for any anti-capitalist media. Plus, the lead character, Gi-Hun, is attractive, so is Ali and Sae-Byeok. It’s so gripping that I couldn’t stop watching the minute I put it on. As evil as Sang-Woo is, he’s hot too. Apart from the attractive few characters I like, (and got attached too, damn you Sang-Woo), the visuals are amazing. You can easily tell how much effort went into this show. Especially with any behind the scenes content, they show you what they did for it.

My favourite TV show

Apart from Squid Game, I would say, Pretty Little Liars, I watched it when I was about 15 and I wanted my mundane life to be like theirs (minus the murder and kidnapping). Mostly because the main characters are all pretty, plus their bedrooms are all cool and mine was a tiny box room.

My favourite piece of music

Puberty 2 by Mitski. I could go on about her for hours. This album, to me, is the best one she has made so far. Every single song is so good. Be The Cowboy, her next album, was obviously good too, but no song hits like Once More to See You.

The lyric I love

The lyrics I love would be from Mitski’s First Love/Late Spring, the line is “Mune ga hachikire-sōde”. It is in Japanese so I didn’t know what she was saying, but when I found out, it hurt. As far as I’m aware, (though I did find out from the internet) it’s supposed to mean that her heart feels like it’s exploding. With my first love, I felt exactly like that. She put into words just how emotional I felt.

The first gig I saw

The first gig I saw was the 1975. I was 17, and as soon as they came out I started crying. It’s embarrassing to think about but I was just so excited and overwhelmed. Plus they played my favourite song of theirs, undo and somebody else, so it was pretty good.

The instrument I wish I’d learnt

I guess the violin. I learnt a little bit when I was younger but then I gave up after a year and never bothered with it again. I struggled to read sheet music, I still do to be fair. 

The book I’m reading

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I watched the movie and liked it but the book portrays Bateman far worse than the movie does. So far it’s good, and easy to get into.

The book I wish I’d read 

Great Expectations. I think I got a couple of chapters in, then just forgot about it. I remember enjoying it but I just didn’t have enough time and its existence completely slipped my mind.


Drake. I get people who have different music tastes, but he is a very questionable individual. 


Rico Nasty. Her style and her songs bring something new to music. She’s an amazing artist and doesn’t get enough praise that she deserves. Also the same goes for Rina Sawayama. They’re both incredible

My guilty pleasure

The Smiths. I hate to admit it, but some of their songs are enjoyable. I really like Back to the Old House and There is a Light That Never Goes Out.