Bobbi Blogs: Week 1 at the Gazette

By Bobbi Hadgraft

This week marked the start of a whole new chapter in my journalistic career. I was so eager to get started at the Gazette and the experience gained in my first week alone set me aback. In a nutshell, it felt like an enormous step in the direction I’ve had my heart set on since school.

Holderness and East Riding Gazette newspaper

To bring in a bit of background: I’m currently in my second year of study at University Academy 92. Unsurprisingly, I’m reading journalism. My first year was everything I could have asked for and more, but 2020 has been a crazy year. My time in Manchester was cut short by the pandemic and I had to move back home to East Yorkshire. This wasn’t the ‘Uni experience’ I’d craved; however, I didn’t want to sit around and feel sorry for myself. I had to compromise.

Summer proved to be challenging and – like everything else – work placements I had organised were cancelled. UA92 were amazing in proving the power of industry partners, and renowned journalist Kevin Palmer couldn’t have been more helpful in helping my course get into the swing of writing articles worthy of being published online. A handful of bylines later and my motivation was rejuvenated. The cycle of lockdown began to subside.

Fast forward to now. I’m (still) living at my family home in East Yorkshire and commuting to Manchester a couple of times per week for the on-campus sessions. A few weeks ago, I saw a dream role advertised online, threw every bit of experience I’ve gained in the industry into my CV and went for it. I still can’t believe I can now call myself a correspondent for my local newspaper, The Hornsea and Holderness Gazette

My first day arrived and my nerves were impossible to ignore. My colleague took me through the system and tasked me with writing up press releases within the first hour. Although I was surprised to be thrown right in, this is exactly how I like to set the ball rolling. Several press releases later and I’d cracked it and “made it look easy”. I was absolutely chuffed.

The Gazette, which is published every Thursday, has a deadline to be sent to print at around midday on Wednesday. Wednesdays at UA92 consist of digital based tasks we can complete anytime, so I agreed to work the full 9-5pm shift every week at the paper. The tempo was different on this day, with the emphasis on proof reading and ensuring everything was ready to be submitted. This was another great early learning point. Amid the chaos, when my colleagues were occupied tying up loose ends, I used my initiative to search my area of correspondence for stories to be placed in next week’s edition.

By the end of the week I had reached out to the local council, to event organisers and individuals whose stories had stood out to me. I had written these up and planned for my first event of which I’ll attend, proudly representing the Gazette.

My first year in Manchester

Eivile is a first (almost second) year Accounting and Finance student

By Eivile Klingaite

I was really worried about beginning my higher education journey at University Academy 92, as it’s so vastly different to many other higher education institutions. Many of my friends went to more traditional universities and soon enough, while I was lying in bed watching Netflix, my friends were venting to me about how stressed they were revising for their end of semester exams. It was then I really appreciated the position I was in at UA92.

It provides a great opportunity to receive a highly recognisable degree, but with regular assessments, not traditional end of year exams. The regular timetable is also great, as it transitions you better into working life. If you think about it, you’re not going to start a job and get tested from memory on what you’ve done and learnt on the job every 6 months. It’s unrealistic.

With the UA92 assessment style, you get given a task and a time frame to complete it in and you are expected to go off, do your research, and hand your work in before a deadline. This ties in well with how you will be expected to operate in your career following university. Students also receive a lot more 1 on 1 time with lecturers which makes assessments easier, being able to ask if you’re stuck or have questions.

Most importantly, UA92 offers plenty of connections to companies that will probably play a vital role in your future post university. Partnerships with KPMG and Microsoft (to name a few) provide insight days where you get the opportunity to network and make connections with people that could put you forward for opportunities to help you through your career. These insight days are also helpful to find out more about the pathways you can take in your career and find out about jobs you didn’t know existed. I have personally heard of some jobs at KPMG that involve IT that sound intriguing, having never wanted to go near IT in the past.

Overall, moving to Manchester for my degree was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and best of all, I get to live in a city I love, whilst working towards a degree from Lancaster University, who’s name will help me get me far in my future.

It was very daunting at first, especially moving from London, but don’t turn down opportunities like that if you don’t have to. I’ve met the most amazing people at UA92 who I know I will be friends with for life and made the most amazing experiences.

Phil Jones joins the UA92 Journalism team for 2020/2021

Phil is an Associate Tutor in Sports Journalism

By PHIL JONES

It’s curious how life can take you full circle. My career began at a press agency in Salford, fresh from a course in journalism. Here I am, 35 years later, just down the road in neighbouring Trafford, helping inform the next generation of reporters and broadcasters as an Associate Tutor at University Academy 92.

The notion of a career circle, though, is to suggest the formation of a perfect round shape when, in truth, there have been various tangents and the odd squiggly line here and there. An imperfect, but nonetheless appealing, circle.

My life in journalism took me from Salford to London, from London to Atlanta, back to Salford again, taking in myriad adventures with local and national media, most enduringly with CNN and BBC Sport. Hosting more than 2,000 World Sport shows out of CNN’s HQ in Atlanta was rarely bettered; presenting the BBC’s flagship sports programme Grandstand was a dream fulfilled; reporting trackside at the Olympic Stadium on Super Saturday during London 2012 was beyond compare.

The highs were many, but not constant. A life in journalism and broadcasting undoubtedly has its pockets of turbulence. But it’s a wonderful world to inhabit, given the opportunity. And that opportunity, for so many, starts right here at UA92.

Since UA92’s inception, I’ve been captivated by the desire to do things differently here. That was the overriding appeal. One concentrated module at a time, no traditional end of year exams, a timetable that allows a study-life balance, industry-led teaching and an emphasis on each student’s personal development and well-being: it’s a fresh formula that shouts success. The launch of a Sports Journalism degree is just the latest of many exciting developments.

After decades in the journalism profession, there are some areas of work in which, honestly, I have to feign enthusiasm. But not at UA92. Not with what I’ve witnessed and experienced here already. This is a ground-breaking, trend-setting place of education, ready to burgeon and boom.

Given the creators of UA92, given my track record – if you forgive me parking my modesty for just a second – where better to follow your sporting and journalistic goals?

See you soon.

Covid-19 demonstrates the importance of teamwork in Higher Education

By Henry Daniel

UA92 partner Microsoft had just launched their brand-new offices within the UA92 building when Covid-19 caused Higher Education in the UK to move online. Luckily, staff and students were already using Microsoft’s Teams to deliver lessons and submit assessments, so you could argue that in some ways the partnership has already been a success.  

Microsoft’s partnership with UA92 is not just to provide an online learning platform. They are also helping to design the curriculum and although their base will primarily be used to support customers and partnerships within the region, this also means that students at UA92 will be able to interact with Microsoft staff on a daily basis to build industry contacts.

Cindy Rose, Chief Executive of Microsoft UK, said: “UA92’s purpose to nurture talent and ambition is closely aligned with Microsoft’s mission to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more, as well as our goal to close the digital skills gap across the UK.

“We are proud to play a role in both the educational and technology aspects of this unique initiative. It’s an exciting time for technology in Manchester. It has become a vibrant tech hub with a fantastic start-up community and a centre of gravity for Microsoft and our partners.”

Microsoft revealed future plans for the UA92 partnership include collaborations on digital apprenticeships, new digital skills programmes and also developing the Computer Science curriculum alongside academics from UA92 and Lancaster University. 

Derrick McCourt, General Manager of Microsoft UK’s Customer Success Unit, said: “UA92 are trying to deliver education in a very different way. I think there’s recognition that in a very competitive global market that education has to be delivered in a different way to meet the needs of the students.” Covid-19 has certainly demonstrated how agile, tech savvy HE institutions like UA92 can use online learning platforms to keep students engaged and still deliver excellent teaching. Although it may be months until students and Microsoft staff are mingling again on campus, the partnership has already helped move the Higher Education sector into a new collaborative, online world.

My UA92 experience

Henry is a first (nearly second) year Business Studies student

By Henry Daniel

My first year of UA92 is now over, but I cannot believe how life changing it has been. My very first day was walking into a brand-new campus, with nerves of apprehension and a fear of failure. However, I was greeted by staff who were welcoming, smiling and who also looked excited to be open, the building felt alive. 

Unlike any other university, near enough every member of staff knew me by my name, not by my student number. I’m not going to lie, I did not have a clue who anyone was apart from one person, the student well-being officer, Steph. She helped me with the transition to UA92 life, getting the learning support equipment and help that I needed to settle in. After coming from another traditional university, it is clear University Academy 92 is a real game changer.

One thing I really like about UA92’s campus is the people. Most university academics use confusing long words that bore you to death until you fall asleep. At UA92 this does not happen, the tutors are honest and truthful, they try to relate your studies to real life. I like this a lot. 

On top of that, you are not lectured in huge lecture theatres with 300 other random people that are forced to feel like sardines. The lecturers are amazingly friendly, caring & extremely professional. It’s more of a working environment with a supportive professional relationship with your lecturers. 

As a business student, we have had amazing guest lectures from: Daniel Gibney CEO of Lancashire Cricket Club, Marnie Millard OBE CEO of Nicholls PLC, Jo and Darren Scott from Truth Creative, even visiting KPMG, which was really handy for the accountancy module. It has been a real rollercoaster ride being a student at UA92, which means you need a positive attitude and a good work ethic.

I’ve met many great friends at UA92, some from Great Britain and some from around the world. I am sure I will meet even more in the future. It’s fantastic seeing all the different characters and personalities inside the campus, both staff and students seem to be having a great time. You just don’t get that feeling in any other educational institution, where everybody works to help each other out. 

I have loved my first year at University Academy 92. Your voice is listened to, the people are helpful, the technology for your studies is phenomenal and the support from staff is incredible. Mix that up with the world-famous city of Manchester, then you have a truly unique experience. I can’t wait for my next year of hard work and fun at UA92. 

Lockdown as a UA92 student

Matt is a first (nearly second) year Journalism student

By Matt Owen

Lockdown during this pandemic has been challenging but also really rewarding! I’ve had time to think about how my first year has gone and consider what I can do to develop as a future journalist. I have tried to use this period in a productive manner trying to get some experience in the world of sports journalism, which isn’t easy when there is not much sport to talk or write about!

But, over the past few weeks, I have been given the opportunity to work with professional journalist Kevin Palmer and I have published my first ever professional article. 

You can check out my first article, published here.

This experience is particularly important within a competitive industry and by getting my first byline in the early stages of my degree, it has given me the confidence and motivation to pursue this as a career, which is great for myself, as a first-year student, to feel.

As well as working with Kevin, I’ve also been securing my own interviews. Clive Tyldesley, the leading football commentator for ITV, gave me great insight into how the media has changed over his 20-year career. I worked with Bobbi another UA92 student to get an interview with Guy Mowbray, a football commentator for BBC and Match of the Day. He spoke about the humour and fun of the job and gave me a real insight into what it’s like to work on a FIFA World Cup.

Lastly, we spoke to Sky Sports leading presenter for Monday night football and Super Sunday, Dave Jones. He went into great detail about what its really like to work for Sky Sports with some of the nation’s favourite ex-players and managers, such as UA92 co-founder Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher, and one of the greatest managers of my generation, Jose Mourinho. Being able to take some knowledge from leading professionals in sports broadcasting was invaluable, I was given tips and tricks on how to pursue a long-lasting career in Football journalism. 

How did we get these people? I thought the best way to contact these people would be to send them a message via Twitter. As most sports broadcasters are on Twitter, you can contact them quite easily and most of them reply, as they know you are students, and they remember being in your position in the past.

Amber from the Barmy Army talks about her experience during away days

Manchester United Women’s fan group the Barmy Army has grown massively in less than two years. Matt Johnson speaks to Barmy Army member, Amber Ricketts about her experiences of away days

By Matt Johnson

How long have you been regularly going to games for?

I have been a season ticket holder for Manchester United’s men’s team since 2012. Since the women’s team formed I have been going to as many games as I can.

What made you join the Barmy Army?

The boss, Natalie Burrell, asked if I would like to join her and the Barmy Army on an away trip to Reading in the FA Cup last season and from that trip I made amazing friends and I have established myself as part of the family.

What do you enjoy most about away days?

I love the noise and the atmosphere we create. I love the fact I am walking past Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool fans with a United shirt on. We are loud, proud and we leave our mark.

Which away days have you particularly enjoyed?

I know we lost, but Reading away was a great time mainly because I felt like I belonged to that group of people. Spurs away in the Championship last year was pretty good because of the amount of goals we scored.

Which have been your least favourite away days?

The loss against West Ham was the worst. Everyone was so deflated on the coach ride coming home. We lost because of our own naivety and amateur mistakes. Thankfully, the Chelsea versus Everton game was called off thus making it the perfect chance to get our name imprinted on that fourth spot.

Are there any grounds that you are looking forward to visit?

Tranmere, because it is where Liverpool play and I am desperate for a Liverpool away game. Arsenal’s ground at Boreham Wood is also in my top list because I have heard plenty of good reviews about it. To be honest, I am looking forward to visiting all of the grounds where Manchester United women are set to play.


If you would like to find out more about the Barmy Army, you can follow them on Twitter and Instagram @barmyarmymuwfc. For away travel, follow @BarmyArmyTRAVEL on Twitter

My first year at UA92

Bobbi is a first (nearly second) year Journalism student.

BY BOBBI HADGRAFT

I honestly can’t believe I’ve already completed my first year at UA92. The highlights? Where do I begin!

It was quite a milestone moving from a small village outside of Hull to a city like Manchester. At first it was daunting, I almost felt out of my depth, but the city has become my second home. I have really missed it during the current lockdown.

One of the first things I noticed was the kindness of the people. It is a city where you don’t feel like you’re by yourself, but part of a bigger community. This leads me to the support network formed by local industries which lies at the heart of UA92’s ethos: to break down the wall between students and their potential employers. In my first year I have already visited KPMG as they helped me improve my presentation skills, been supported continuously by TalkTalk, as well as working with real journalists who have helped me start getting my foot in the door of a competitive industry. Even during the current lockdown, I have had written pieces published with the help of university contacts. I must stress that I did not expect the academics and partners to go out of their way to support us as they have done during our summer break! It’s very refreshing to feel like an individual as opposed to a number.

As someone who has had work experience at my local BBC newsroom, I was also incredibly impressed with the standard of equipment used throughout the course. I feel it gives us a head start, with industry grade technology on hand in the Media Studio.

On the subject of the personalised approach, each student is paired up with a personal coach as soon as you join. Despite being something I, admittedly, hadn’t considered much before joining, this has resulted in being one of my favourite privileges of the university! My coach, Bilal, has been amazing. He has helped me with networking, connecting me to possible work experience opportunities, and has also been there to speak to about any general worries I’ve had.

Onto student life… I’m quite into my football, so one of the first things I did when joining was tick off all of the local grounds! Thankfully I made some amazing friends on my course who share my footy obsession, so that really helped break the ice. The nightlife in Manchester is also second to none. Nights out have really been so much fun to help bond us all. It’s great going out with the students from your own and the other courses rather than just who you share a flat with!

Before I started university, I wish I’d known that we were all in the same boat. It’s a new experience for everyone and I wish I hadn’t felt so apprehensive. Don’t be afraid to talk to people and start conversations. You’ll make friends to last a lifetime.

Rooney Reunited

BY ADAM FLOWERS

Manchester United’s and England’s all-time record goal scorer was denied an FA Cup fairytale against his former club at Pride Park.  

Wayne Rooney, now a player-coach at Derby County, captained his new side against Manchester United in the 5th Round of the FA Cup last night. Rooney who made 393 appearances for the Red Devils has never scored against his former club. Although he was on the wrong side of a 3-0 defeat, he did come close to scoring when his free kick was tipped over the crossbar.  

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Manchester United manager, was full of praise for his former teammate.  At the pre match press conference he told the reporters: “He has been a fantastic player for Man United, and he played here for so long, he is the club’s top scorer, he’s won so many trophies.”

It was a disappointing result for Derby County, as Manchester United’s new striker Idion Ighalo rained on Rooney’s parade scoring twice as United were comfortable winners in a 3-0 victory.  Despite the scoreline Derby County fan Ollie Wooley wasn’t too disheartened: “I think we could have gone for it a bit more, but the youngsters played well, and it shows we have good players to come through the ranks in the next season or so”.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has prematurely ended the football season. Rooney won’t be adding to his trophy cabinet this season, but it’s clear he still has a place in the hearts of Manchester United fans.   

Neville praises Salford City’s improved mentality

BY MATT JOHNSON

Salford City co-owner Gary Neville has praised the improved mentality of the club as they have adjusted to life as a football league club. Last season Graham Alexander’s side won promotion from the National League after beating AFC Fylde 3-0 in the Play Off Final at Wembley.

Speaking after the club’s 2-0 win over Bradford at the Peninsula Stadium, Neville said he felt that ‘at the start of the season, some players were simply happy to be there at that level’ while as the season has gone on there has been more of a ‘winning mentality’ in the squad.

Results would certainly back up Neville’s comments. At the end of September, Salford had picked up eleven points from as many games, with only two wins. However, the win over Bradford was the club’s third in four games. This had seen them solidify their position in tenth in the league before all elite football in England was shut down on 13 March. 

As well as their league form, Graham Alexander’s side had also reached the Leasing.com Trophy final, where they were due to face holders Portsmouth at Wembley on 5 April. However it now seems unlikely that this game will take place.

The Bradford game proved to be Salford’s final game of the season due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. On 15 May, League Two clubs unanimously voted to call an end to the season and determine the final standings based on points per game. This meant that Salford finished 11th, dropping below Forest Green Rovers by 0.01 points.