Evaluation of self initiated project

For the self initiated project I feel like I could have done a lot better.

Our group didn’t work well together at all as there was a huge lack of communication and barely anyone turned up to the sessions.

Working in a group was very frustrating, as I wasn’t sure what content everyone was gathering and I didn’t want to contact the same organisations and get the same stories as other people.

I tried to get in touch with everyone and ask what was been done several times however no one would speak. I even sent them all a message saying I had had enough and that everyone should go in and sort things out. However, the others didn’t seem to care.

I think I should have taken charge of the group, as the editors lacked control and were never in contact with me other than right at the start of the project. I felt like I was doing everything on my own.

After putting off doing work for a while I eventually kicked into gear and I started to work on what I wanted to do, regardless of what everyone else was doing.

I regret going against how I planned my time out in a Gantt chart at the start of the project, as I suddenly felt like I had a lot to do in little time. However, I created more to keep myself on track and they helped me stay organised.

It took a while for organisations to get back to me after contacting them for spotlight pieces, and I think I should have contacted them a lot earlier than I did as I didn’t get as many as I wanted for the website.

However, I have managed to create a fair amount of content for the website and I feel like I have done a nice variety of things.

The best story I think I found was my feature story about Albanians being trafficked the most. This story only sparked from finding some data online from the Salvation Army. Then when I dug deeper and asked Prof Gary Craig what he knows about the issue I realised it was quite a big story, and I had a lot of research which allowed me to create the feature.

The only issue with my content is that I haven’t got as much multimedia as I wanted, because it was difficult to meet up with people for interviews because of how pressed I was for time and how busy they were as well. However, I have got some audio pieces and I helped Chelsea create a video for one of her stories.

Overall, the self initiated project has taught me to not sit back in group projects and to organise my time better.

If I am to work with groups in the future on projects I am probably going to take charge and get on with everything I want to do straight away, so I can achieve the best possible outcome and not be left feeling disappointed and like I could have done better.


STORY: Albanians prime target for human trafficking and exploitation

Over the last five years the number of Albanians trafficked to the UK has been rising.

Now, latest figures are suggesting Albanians are targeted more than any other ethnic group for human trafficking.

In February 2017 there were 48 Albanians referred to the Salvation Army, amongst 207 victims with different ethnicities.

The second most victimised ethnic group was Vietnamese, with a recorded amount of 29 people referred to the charity.

To view the statistics, click on the link below:

Women also seem to be targeted more by human traffickers as 64% of those who were referred to the Salvation Army in February were female.

In a women’s refuge in southern Albania, a girl revealed to the BBC that she was forced to sleep with several men a day.

“Seya” was trafficked from Albania when she was 14. She fled from a violent family home, and was then sold into a trafficking ring by a man she thought was her boyfriend.

She told the BBC she was “terrified”.

Unfortunately “Seya” isn’t the only girl who has been victimised after escaping from a violent home. In fact, most of the women and girls who are trafficked from Albania report fleeing forced marriages and domestic violence.

According to the Home Office in Albania, domestic violence is a “serious and widespread problem”.

One of their documents from last year stated that in a survey it was shown “some 53 percent of women had experienced domestic violence within the last 12 months”.

Home Office said it is not only the women’s partners who are violent towards them but also parents, brothers, sisters, in-laws, and other relatives.

Associate director of Hull’s WISE (Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation) Professor Gary Craig also claims women in Albania have very “little opportunity for paid work”, which is why they are attracted to moving abroad to try to earn a decent income.

The professor of social justice says many of the women are lured into the UK by criminals who promise them jobs, such as work in a hotel or a café. However, they often end up being trafficked and exploited.

He explains: “It is reasonably easy for women to be trafficked into the UK via Italy as they are then in the EU. The route across the Adriatic is relatively short and very well-used by criminal gangs. The cost of getting women to the UK may be relatively low.

“There has been a huge growth in criminality in Albania and indeed it has become for some sections of society, more or less a way of life as the institutions of law and legal enforcement are weak. There is a very large network of gangs able to manage the trafficking nexus.”

A human trafficker who is serving a 15-year sentence in Albania said that there was a time when “everyone” was doing it.

Prisoner Fatos Kapplani is being held at a high security prison for trafficking children to Greece and forcing them to work as prostitutes and beggars. While he was carrying out the criminal acts, he had a wife and children.

When he was asked in an interview with the BBC what made him do it, he said: “It was a time that everyone was doing that kind of thing.

“It’s terrible,” he added, “What if that were my child and someone did that to them. It’s very terrible.”

Specialist news story 

Holding Absence set to play in Hull

An up and coming metal band from Cardiff, who have had their song played on BBC Radio One and are performing at Download Festival in Donington Park this year (9 – 11 June), are visiting Hull next month.

Holding Absence will be playing a show on 20 March with their touring support, Return to Rome, and three local bands at O’Rileys on Beverley Road.

Lewis Ross, who organised the event, said he wanted to bring the band back to Hull after they made an “amazing” first impression at their debut gig, at O’Rileys a few months ago.

He explained: “Since that day, everyone has spoken about them none stop.”

Mr Ross said people seem to be glad to hear that Holding Absence are returning to Hull.

He claimed: “The reaction has been amazing. So many people from Hull seem to already love the band. I know quite a few people who are massive fans of Holding Absence, and they have spent ridiculous amounts of money on their merchandise and have even got their moth logo tattooed on them.”

Due to the vast amount of people who claimed they want to see Holding Absence in Hull again, Mr Ross said he’s hoping at least 100 people turn up.

The three supporting acts from Hull are pop punk inspired band To the Strongest, alternative rock band The Escape Artist and metal band Liberatae Mae.

Lewis Ross said: “The three local supports were all picked not only on talent, as there were so many talented bands wanting to play, but also on suitability.”

On Facebook, To the Strongest said they were “stoked” to be supporting Holding Absence and that they “honestly cannot wait” for the gig.

Holding Absence, who are signed by Sharptone Records, have had their song Permanent played on Daniel P Carter Radio 1’s Rock Show. They are also going to be touring with We Are the Ocean next month.

Darren Bunting, who owns O’Rileys, said: “Holding Absence were really good last time they came to Hull and I thought it was a great idea when Lewis said he wanted to bring them back to do another show in our venue.”


Dissertation statement of intent

Proposed title:

Is the fall in print circulation and the rise in digital platforms jeopardising sustainability in music journalism?



In my dissertation I will be looking at the fall in the circulation of music magazines and the increase in audiences engaging with music journalism digitally.

As well as just focusing on music, I will be looking at the magazine and journalism industries as a whole as it is not only music journalism that is changing. In fact, latest ABC figures revealed that only 60 out of 442 UK printed magazines increased sales in 2015. Due to the fall in circulation of print I will be examining why this is happening and how magazines are shifting to digital media to sustain audiences, and how they can generate income from this.

As well as magazines moving onto digital platforms, I will also be looking at blogging and how it affects the demand for professional and quality music journalism. By discussing these topics, I aim to create a very detailed argument that examines all of the possible outcomes.



The circulation of music magazines has been falling and some have even had to go into administration. It is not just music magazines that are losing sales but in fact most magazines thanks to digital platforms.

With an increase in audiences online and the expectations from consumers to view content for free, there is a risk of not generating enough income through having to rely solely on advertisers.

Due to how easily accessible digital platforms are there has also been an increase in the amount of bloggers there are. Amateurs have the ability to set up their own music blogs and write reviews etc. in the comfort of their own homes with no experience and no expectations of being paid by someone. With the rise in bloggers, some argue that there is no longer a need for professional music journalism as you can read anyone’s opinions of musicians anywhere with the click of a button. Therefore, there is less chance of people being paid for their work and having a career in music journalism.


Details of research:

My research will include interviews, reading academic journals and books, reading biographies and news stories and finding published data.

My preferred way to interview my primary sources is to interview them either face to face or on the phone and record them, so I have an audio file that I can listen to and refer back to. However, I will also be open to communicating with individuals through email as they are very busy people. The aim of these interviews will be to gather opinions and facts on the subject of my dissertation to back up my argument.

My secondary sources will be used to assert any points I make and will help create a balanced argument.

Any data I collect will also help back up arguments and will demonstrate issues like the decline in sales of magazines.


Research subjects:

In my research I am going to find a wide range of different opinions for my argument in my dissertation. It is important to me to have a good balance of sources who argue for and against.

For the dissertation I am going to rely heavily on primary sources, as the topic of the discussion is more recent and there will not be as many secondary sources I could use out there. I have already identified industry experts to speak to, who are music journalists, editors and producers. I also plan to use academic sources, and published works and books.

My list of sources I have identified is small and I plan to identify more over the summer as I conduct more extensive research.


Primary sources:

  • Clare McDonnell (BBC Radio 5 Live). Former presenter on BBC Radio 6 Music. She has had experience in music and entertainment journalism.
  • Sylvia Patterson. Music journalist who has working in the industry for three decades. She has worked for Smash Hits and NME.
  • Georgia Rawson, editor of Discovered Magazine. Young editor of music magazine.
  • Mike White, Browse Magazine. Young editor of a free, hyperlocal independent music and culture magazine/website.
  • Danielle Partis, freelance writer for TeamRock’s Metal Hammer.
  • Other people involved in BBC Radio 6 Music.
  • Amy Lund. Programme leader for BA (Hons) Magazine Journalism at Leeds Trinity University.


Secondary sources/reading list:

  • I’m Not With the Band: A Writer’s Life Lost in Music by Sylvia Patterson
  • Rock Stars Stole My Life!: A Big Bad Love Affair with Music by Mark Ellen
  • Working in the Music Industry: How to Find an Exciting and Varied Career in the World of Music by Anna Britten
  • Networked: A Contemporary History of News in Transition by Adrienne Russell
  • Journalism: Critical Issues by Stuart Allan
  • The Media of Mass Communication by John Vivian


Potential outcomes:

There are a several potential outcomes from my research. It could be argued that music journalism will still be going strong across all platforms, including magazines, thanks to loyal readers. It could also be argued that while the sale of magazines is declining, there is still money from advertisers to be made with audiences looking at digital and online platforms. Or, because of the rise in bloggers and amateur writers, it could also be argued that it is difficult to find paying jobs as a professional writer for an online music website.



To ensure I keep on track I am going to create Gantt charts using Microsoft Excel. I will have one big Gantt chart that summarises when I need to have things done by which I will print off and place on my bedroom wall, as well as having an electronic version. I will also create smaller charts to break down monthly periods to go into detail about my research and how much I will need to have written by certain dates to avoid panic and putting it all off until last minute.



Now that I have narrowed down my ideas for my dissertation and come up with a title, I feel more focused on what research I need to do and I am looking forward to speaking to my primary sources.

My next few months with consist of a huge amount of research and drafts leading up to my piece of work that will be completed in February. I am confident that this will be done within the timeframe and I will keep on track with the personal deadlines and timeframes I plan to set myself. I hope to complete a dissertation that is of a high standard.



Specialist feature story 

Punishment for pupils with extreme hair

Schools are being criticised for disciplining pupils who have unique hairstyles


A 15-year-old schoolboy raised £850 for Cancer Research UK by shaving all of his hair off.

Taylor Jones, from Cornwall, made all of his friends and family extremely proud of him for wanting to raise money for the charity.

Then when he turned up to his school, Launceston College, the next week he was treated as if he had done something awful. He was pulled out from class and separated from his friends because he was bald.

The boy was told he had an “extreme” haircut, which was a distraction for the other pupils and that he has to learn in isolation.

Taylor Jones’ father, Nick Jones, called the schools actions “dictatorship”. He told Cornwall Live Taylor had been growing his hair for a while and it had got “very unruly” and most people said his previous hairstyle was more extreme compared to how it is now.

Several people have commented on the Independent’s story online saying Taylor Jones’ hair isn’t extreme because some children cannot help being bald due to having alopecia and cancer treatments.

In a statement published in the Independent, Launceston College’s principle, Bryan Maywood, said: “Taylor will be provided with individual specialist tuition from experienced qualified teachers for the four days he will not be in lessons with his peers. After this period his hair will no longer be considered an extreme hairstyle; he will return to normal lessons.”

Across the UK, numerous reports have been published about school pupils being placed in isolation and being suspended because of their hair over the last few years. Schools have deemed pupils hair as ‘extreme’ for simply being too short or too long in many cases. Pupils who have dyed their hair unnatural colours have also been disciplined due to breaching school rules. When schoolchildren are confronted for breaching dress codes, parents often try to fight back and say it’s appalling that their hair has affected their education.

Former teaching assistant, from Winifred Holtby Academy, Sarah Wilkinson says she has seen school children get in trouble for changing their hair for charities as well.

She remembers a time when she was working at the secondary school in Hull and a schoolgirl was sent home for dying her hair red for charity. The school gave the student money to go and purchase two boxes of hair dye, after her parents tried to protest and said they couldn’t afford to change her hair back. She thinks it “wasn’t fair” that the student was told to change it.

Miss Wilkinson questions: “How does the colour of your hair make any difference to how you are going to work?”

The teaching assistant thinks the colour of pupil’s hair should not have an impact on their education. She believes placing pupils out of classrooms affects their learning because they have no one there to help them and explain any work they are given.

Miss Wilkinson says disciplining pupils in this way achieves nothing, other than encouraging them to break the rules to get out of going to classes.

As well as dying hair for charity, schoolchildren have also been known to change their hair to boost their self-esteem.

Last month a schoolgirl in Harlow, dyed her hair to give herself more confidence after being bullied for the past two years and feeling suicidal.

Madison Holman, who attends Channel 4’s Educating Essex school Passmores Academy, revealed to The Sun that she was forced to learn out of class after dying her hair a subtle dark purple colour.

Her mum said the school went “overboard with the punishment” because you could hardly see the colour. She also said it was a shame they were being “so petty” about it because she loved her new haircut and noticed a positive change in her daughters confidence.

Vic Goddard, principal at Passmores Academy, told the Sun: “Passmores Academy has very clear rules and expectations regarding uniform that have been in place for many years.

“We do not apologise for having high expectations of our young people and of the partnership we expect of having with parents/carers.”

Ashely Sparke, 15, from Hull has also faced issues with his school because of his haircuts. The schoolboy, who goes to Hull Trinity House Academy has been suspended and placed in isolation on numerous occasions.

His mum, Emma Sparke, 35, says her child has been punished for having simple hairstyles and it is “ridiculous”. She thinks schools shouldn’t penalise children for their appearance as it’s “a form of discrimination”.

Miss Sparke remembers a time when her son was sent home after getting his hair permed. He was told he had to change it back to how it was and he wasn’t allowed back onto the school premises until his hair was natural, even though his mum Miss Sparke has natural curly hair.

She presses: “I don’t believe the school should get to say how the children have their hairstyles, it’s taking away their identities and freedom. It should be down to the child’s parents if they can or cannot have their hair a certain way.”

The 15 year old was also once punished for a week for attending school with his hair long on the top of his head and shaved on the sides. The sailor boy’s school told Miss Sparke pupils should have their hair one length, so that no one looks out of place.

According to Miss Sparke, her son felt lonely in the week he was separated from his peers. She explains Ashley begged to stay at home instead of going to school because he had no one to speak to.

Despite Miss Sparke’s complaints, she says she understands that schools are strict with hair because they can be distracting in lessons if they are bright and have patterns in them.

Hull Trinity House Academy have been contacted about the matter and we are still waiting for them to comment.

The Northern Ireland Children’s Commissioner Koulla Yiasouma said the policy of isolating school pupils because of their hair is “wrong”.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show, Ms Yiasouma claimed guidance from the department to the schools is sometimes “too woolly”.

She said: “They (children) have a right to express themselves. Unfortunately our education does not allow them that right.”

Due to these issues schoolchildren have been facing, it is important to remember to seek permission before your child drastically changes their hairstyle. Even if the makeover is for charity, it is highly likely it will cause trouble.

Helping Chelsea get footage for her victim story

Yesterday afternoon I helped Chelsea get footage for a video she is going to create for her victim story, with my camera and tripod.

She originally had an audio piece of her interview with a victim of sex trafficking and she was just going to include that as multimedia on the site.

However, Sally suggested it would be good if we could turn it into a video to place on the top of the home page of the website to draw people in.

For footage, Chelsea filmed me walking around Queens Gardens and us both sat on a bench together as if I was the victim and she is going to edit it so it is very dark and I am just a silhouette. By doing so, it portrays the victim wishes to be anonymous but it makes it visual.

As well as this footage, we also got some cutaways of the trees, the court, traffic, peoples feet and buildings in the city centre.

Hopefully when Chelsea puts everything together it will look good.

Reflection on Hull Amnesty Group spotlight piece

A few weeks after trying to get in touch with someone from Hull Amnesty Group by email, I got a reply from them that had a very long statement informing me of everything they do from their secretary Anne Lasckey.

In my email I had asked if there was anyone I could speak to, to tell me more information. I was hoping to speak to someone on the phone to do a telephone interview and record it so I could have some multimedia for the site. However, because of their reply to me I decided to just work with what I had been given and she looked like she had taken a fair amount of time out to write to me to help.

From Anne’s statement, I have created a spotlight piece which highlights who they are and what they do. Unfortunately, she didn’t tell me anything newsworthy. However I thought it would be good to write about them and include them on the site to help raise awareness of organisations who are involved in modern slavery.

On this piece I have added links, to make the story SEO friendly.