Saturday, 23 February 2008


Nothing quite as glamorous as my last post, but I've had a few other things published since appearing in The Guardian (see below).

"Books clean-up reveals volume of rich works" (The Star, 13/2/08)
"A Rare Find" (Sheffield Steel, 9/2/08)

This story got an outing in both the Sheffield Steel (student newspaper at The University of Sheffield) and The Star (Sheffield local paper). I was in the library of Stephenson Hall, which is now disused, and came across six volumes of a book series over 200 years old. After some research, I found that original volumes of the set sell for up to £2000, so I thought I'd write a story about it. The Sheffield Steel put it on their website front-page, and The Star said they wanted it for their paper, and it got printed with a picture and by-line, so I was very happy with that!

"Uni praised for water plan" (Sheffield Steel, 12/2/08)

Not the most exciting of stories, but it was reasonably interesting and shows that The University of Sheffield is an institution at the forefront of energy conservation (in this case, water conservation). Great stuff.

Details to follow of articles in the latest issue of Sheffield Steel (22/2/08) - “Tuesday Clobber” and “Freshers’ Week Bingeing Banned” and “Whose Degree Is It Anyway”. I’m currently waiting for the weblinks so I can post them on this blog, but you can check out all these stories in this week’s Steel paper, available from the Students’ Union at the University of Sheffield! There may also be an appearance of the “Tuesday Clobber” story in The Star this week.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008


Monday was a great day. One of my university tutors emailed me at 8:44am with the following message: "Congrats on getting your eloquent letter in the Media Guardian...You tell 'em!" Suddenly I remembered that I'd emailed The Guardian last week with a comment about an article by Peter Wilby, not expecting anything to come of it, and they ended up printing it as the lead letter! I ran down to the newsagents, got two copies, and couldn't believe it when I saw my name on a national broadsheet newspaper for the first time in my life! How exciting. I emailed round many past journalism contacts, friends and family members, and it was great to hear some of their comments.

But firstly, here is my letter reprinted in full, sourced from the following address:

The importance of being well-informed
I must disagree with Peter Wilby's comment that students are only at university "to get a degree which will be a passport to a good job" (Academic exercise reveals a scary truth, January 28). I am thoroughly enjoying reading journalism studies at a great university, and this is mostly because I've tried to get involved in the subject by reading media journals, a different newspaper every day, and consuming a good variety of television and radio. Perhaps I shouldn't bother, as Wilby believes Sunday papers are "doomed" anyway (October 29), and my chosen vocation is neither "a profession" or "a skill" (December 10).
But our tutors are constantly reminding us how important it is to be well-informed. Along with most of my fellow students, I believe that I can make my course far more fulfilling by doing more than just essays and assignments. Our tutors are certainly still "highly engaged with public affairs" and thankfully seem desperate to ensure that an "instrumental attitude to university life" (January 28) will be the antithesis of their students' higher education experience - including mine.
Mark Duell, BA journalism studies, the University of Sheffield

I received many comments about the letter from various people, and here is just a selection of these:

“I think his crushing criticism here demonstrates the success, in his case at least, of the selection criteria and process for admittance to the top institution in the country for journalism.”
Malcolm Hiscock (Company Watch)

“A good point well made!”
Jayne Deacon (BA Journalism Studies, The University of Sheffield)

“An interesting response”
David Duell (Barclays Capital)

“You tell 'em!”
Tony Harcup (The University of Sheffield)

“Skills, bro!”
Phill Dolby (Regional Magazine Company)

“Good Stuff!”
David Elcock (Leigh Road Baptist Church)

Kay Duell (musician)

Maria Toth (Premier Christian Radio)

Hopefully this will be the first of many more appearances in the national press! Watch this space...