There was no shortage of big news to report in 2011. It was a year in which the impact of the economic downturn was really felt, both rioters and marchers took to the streets to make their voices heard, while those who wrote about the news made the headlines themselves.

 

Journalism came under intense public scrutiny with the phone-hacking scandal, which resulted in the News of the World ceasing publication after 168 years.

 

Stories by Guardian journalist Nick Davies, including one about the News of the World hacking into the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, proved to be pivotal, though the Guardian has since had to retract claims that some of Milly's messages were deleted by those working for the News of the World.

 

The scandal led to the ongoing Leveson Inquiry which, it is hoped, will lead to better professional and ethical practice in journalism.

 

As well as covering the main stories which shaped

the news agenda, JMU Journalism reporters also

occasionally appeared at the centre of events.

 

Multimedia Producer Vegard Grott had a lucky 

escape from the Norwegian terror attacks

committed by Anders Behring Breivik. Vegard's

compelling blog reflected on the atrocities one

month after the murders in Oslo and Utoya.

 

Back on Merseyside, JMU Journalism Managing

Editor Helen Dodd started a campaign to save a

World War I memorial in Tranmere. We also

reported from inside the walls of HMP Liverpool 

as well as conducting exclusive interviews with the

likes of veteran politician Tony Benn, TUC leader

Brendan Barber, NI First Minister Peter Robinson

plus celebrities Paul O'Grady and Alex Gerrard

amongst others.

 

In August, rioters went on the rampage in the south of Liverpool, setting fire to vehicles and attacking the police in the worst civil disobedience to hit the city for 30 years. This followed a national wave of disturbances in cities across England, three decades on from the Toxteth riots.

 

The year was to end with Liverpool and the 1981 Toxteth riots back in the national spotlight, as documents were released which showed then-Chancellor Geoffrey Howe urging his Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to allow the "managed decline" of Liverpool to happen. This seemed to confirm long-held local suspicions about how the city was viewed within the Conservative government back in the 1980s.

 

Campaigners calling for the release of all documents relating to the 1989 Hillsborough disaster won a notable victory as the motion was passed in Parliament without a single MP objecting. Local MP Alison McGovern made an emotional speech which earned applause from those in the public gallery.

 

The poor economic outlook and the government's austerity measures have led to much disquiet, on both a local and national level. In Liverpool, the three main political parties joined forces to set a controversial budget which will save £141m from the council's coffers over three years. The November 30th public sector strike saw thousands of local workers join up to two million staff nationally protesting at proposed changes to their pension entitlements.

 

Internationally, Osama Bin Laden and Colonel Gadaffi both died in dramatic circumstances, while America fell silent on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York

 

In sport, Kenny Dalglish made a welcome return to the dugout at Anfield as Liverpool FC boss, as fellow Scot David Moyes began his 10th year in charge at Everton. Both managers face a huge battle to restore the glory days back to the city, as the two Manchester clubs now threaten to dominate domestic football.

 

The Liverpool Marathon was staged once again in October after a 20-year absence from the city's sporting calendar, and the run handed the region a much needed economic boost into the bargain. 

 

In the world of entertainment, Marcus Collins joined Rebecca Ferguson as a gallant runner-up as he came second behind Little MIx in the battle to be crowned X Factor champion of 2011. Reality TV show Desperate Scousewives also hit the television screens to almost unanimous disapproval from Scousers.

 

In a year when the world said goodbye to visionaries such as Apple founder Steve Jobs, perhaps the death of singer Amy Winehouse had the biggest impact in the UK.

 

The greatest national celebration of 2011 was undoubtedly the Royal Wedding, with Prince William marrying Kate Middleton amid great pomp and ceremony, but how much Liverpudlians cared about the event is debatable. We also asked some our reporters if they would trade places with William's princess, and the answer was an emphatic 'no'.

Looking back on 2011's major news stories

By Liam Deveney & John Mathews, JMU Journalism Liverpool Life

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News of the World shut after 168 years; Osama Bin Laden was killed; riots hit Liverpool and other cities

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