A year ago this website didn't exist. Before we launched the site in May 2009, our coursework went straight into portfolios and didn’t really have to be seen by anyone other than ourselves and whoever marked it.
Now, as we celebrate our first birthday this week, our stories are firmly out in the public domain. We've had more than 20,000 unique visitors from 117 countries looking at our work in the past six months alone.
The articles we've written and the milestones we’ve reached this year have been so rewarding, expanding our horizons and giving us true 'World of Work' experience while we complete our university degrees.
Within the first 12 months, our students were getting their
coursework published on the Liverpool Echo website as
part of a content-sharing agreement with Trinity Mirror.
This amazing journey has changed the way students look
at their course and approach news stories, transforming
their skills and giving them the WoW Factor™.
The website went from an idea to a reality, before becoming
a way of life for those involved.
No-one said it would be easy. Much of the work that goes
into producing stories and website updates happen on
students' own time. Website production meetings aren’t
attended for university credits; they are completely voluntary
and have led to some great stories. This year's news cycle
in Liverpool has been particularly eventful, with the
examples of our constantly evolving coverage. Lib Dem
leader Nick Clegg was among those who spoke to JMU
Journalism, with the future Deputy Prime Minister defending his party's policy on university tuition fees.
One of the best things the website does is bring the three years of Journalism together. It's convergence to the maximum, with first, second and third years collaborating (and competing) to find the best stories.
It could be something light, like an exclusive interview with X-Factor twins Jedward or Coleen Rooney. It might be an in-depth look into difficult issues such as sex offenders speaking about bullying in prison, or conducting city-wide polls to expose the skin cancer risks of sunbed tanning and finding out if Scousers want independence from the UK.
Converged journalism has seen us combine tweeting, text stories, pictures, radio and TV packages, all brought together to illustrate the best of our work in stories like the Duke of York leading the Royal Navy in a visit to Liverpool and Record lottery winners giving back their jobs.
It hasn't all been about work though. We will take away great memories from team nights out at Mango's next to Liverpool Screen School, and Hannah's bar in town. The inaugural JMU Journalism World Cup football tournament was an epic success that looks set to become an annual tradition.
The third years will be heartbroken to leave the website and this course; a sentiment shared by many of us who are graduating this year. However, our catchphrase 'Exciting Times' means exactly what it says, and we hope future students will enjoy the same rewards that we have, making this website even better next year.
By Sam Rogers & Victoria J Fode, JMU Journalism TV
YouTube: Meet the JMU Journalism Media Crew; JMU Journalism TV 'Liverpool independence' poll reaction
JMU Journalism on Twitter
JMU Journalism website launch video 2009