News sense

Good start to the new academic year here at the University of Gloucestershire.

Our new Journalism degree recruited very well and we have 37 strong students raring to go at the start of the year.

Today marks the end of Induction Week for the Freshers and, while most have looked a little bleary-eyed at times in the morning, we did manage to conduct a good experiment on news sense and news values.

On day one we set the students the task of coming back to use with two photographs taken on their mobile phones. One which they regarded as newsworthy and one they regarded personally interesting to them.

We got some good results on the newsworthy. The expected shots of students drinking (bound to be a good few stories in papers across the country on that), a cracking snap of a smashed up learner driver's car and one group talked their way into Cheltenham Town FC to take a pic of their new stand (good work team).

But it was the interesting pictures that yielded the most, well, interesting results.
The two that stood out the most were a shot of a beautifully carved topiary hedge, to which someone has added a smiley face, and a shot of the bubble-blowing fish in Regents Arcade (below).

The Gloucestershire Echo is now following up the hedge story (won't say too much as it would be a shame to ruin the students' exclusive) and of course, the fish clock was designed by Kit Williams who remains a fascinating character to this day and the scandal and intrigue around his treasure hunt book Masquerade makes great copy.

What fascinates me with many journalism trainees is that they don't often link what interests them with what will make news. To me it stands to reason that if they are interested then someone else will be.

If we all just stick to norm and continually regurgitate the same old news then who will read it in the end?