One of the many reasons that hundreds of students apply to come to Liverpool to study journalism is that it is a city in which there is always something going on.


From hard news stories to the arts, sport to the downright ridiculous, JMU Journalism has seen an endless stream of ideas suggested in its news conferences since September, so we thought we'd take a look back at some of the headlines that have dominated the media agenda during this academic year.


It has been a tumultuous time for the future of higher education, with the news that universities are to face huge funding cuts, coupled with a hike in tuition fees to £9,000-a-year. Scenes of protest over the Government's changes took centre stage for much of the end of 2010, and this university confirmed its position when our Vice-Chancellor Michael Brown announced that LJMU would be charging the full £9,000.


The Government Spending Review meant Liverpool City Council will have to make £141million worth of cuts over the next two years, sparking further protests. A controversial council budget was passed amid angry scenes, while the national budget was heavily criticised by local MP, Luciana Berger, who also paid a visit to JMU Journalism.


Liverpool poignantly remembered the lives of those who lost their lives in service on an emotional Remembrance Sunday outside St. George's Hall, and people on the Wirral welcomed back the Mercian regiment from Afghanistan after a tour of duty on the front line.


Perhaps it will be the more unorthodox stories that many on the

JMU Journalism team will remember this past academic year

for, with one of the most incredible being the potential discovery

of a shark in the Albert Dock on Google Earth.


Equally astounding was the story of 12-year old Otto Dawes, a

schoolboy from the Wirral who is currently learning to fly. Quirky

tales of epic endeavours included that of Paul Hardaker, who

is sailing around the UK along with his parrot, Finlay, and

Steven Hill, who is running 40 marathons in 40 days for charity.


Knowsley Safari Park attracted unwelcome headlines after

shocking pictures of dead animals were published. Our

exclusive story about the birth of a baby elephant at Chester

Zoo was very popular with our users.


JMU Journalism has strived to give Scousers a voice on all of

the local issues, such as whether the Liverpool Cathedral

should have hosted a late night rave back in April. Our vox pop

on the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton

proved that Liverpudlians aren't always too concerned about

certain aspects of national news coverage.


The city has attracted some of the world's biggest stars, with

Pamela Anderson in panto, while Justin Bieber is unlikely to

forget his time in Liverpool having been trapped in his hotel

room due to an overly enthusiastic welcome from his young

fans. Also, Kim Cattrall, of Sex and the City fame, took time out

of her schedule starring in the Playhouse's production of

Antony and Cleopatra to talk to JMU Journalism.


However, it was the city's homegrown talent from both past

and present that the year's big entertainment stories belonged

to. Anfield's Rebecca Ferguson stole local hearts by reaching

the final of the X Factor and finishing as runner-up.


Liverpool remembered its favourite and most famous son,

John Lennon, on what would have been his 70th birthday, and

also on the 30th anniversary of his death. Fellow Beatles legend, Sir Paul McCartney, brought the house down by staging an intimate Christmas gig at Liverpool's O2 Academy.


As ever, sport has been dominated by both Liverpool and Everton Football Clubs, with the red half of the city arguably coming through one of the most turbulent seasons in its illustrious history. After a stuttering start on the pitch under new manager Roy Hodgson, it was unrest off it that dominated the attention. American businessmen Tom Hicks and George Gillett were finally forced out as owners by John W. Henry's NESV group after securing a dramatic takeover of the club at the High Court.


The club's fortunes also took an incredible upturn following the caretaker appointment of Kenny Dalglish as replacement for the sacked Hodgson in January. It was a move that delighted Liverpool fans, in a month that saw the club bring in Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez for over £50 million and say goodbye to Fernando Torres, who moved to Chelsea.


The Reds recovered from spending the early part of the season down in the relegation zone to finish sixth, and Dalglish was finally given the job permanently with a three-year contract.


Everton's season may have been a little less of a rollercoaster than that of their big rivals but there were plenty of ups and downs. The Toffees started poorly, as has often been the way in recent years, and left themselves facing an uphill battle come the turn of the year, just three points clear of the drop-zone. A resurgence in form in the campaign's latter stages saw the Blues climb the table and end the season in a respectable 7th place.


Elsewhere in local sport, the Mersey Tigers basketball team had a highly successful trophy-winning season. It was announced that Liverpool will stage its first marathon in more than 20 years to give the city's economy a much-needed boost, while 14-1 shot Ballabriggs beat Oscar Time to win the 164th Grand National at a sold-out Aintree.


JMU Journalism's big news year in review

By Jonathan Birchall, Website Producer

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