Reporter 419, 27 April 1998

The Reporter has been praised by The Independent for its willingness to delve into the annals of University history and recall the events of 1968, when student protests were led by Jack Straw – then Union president and now Home Secretary. The paper’s education columnist John Izbicki wrote: “Academics at the University of Leeds are lucky to have a staff newsletter as good as Reporter...I congratulate the university for having the guts to recall an important part of its history. I could name and shame at least one university that has decided to brush the darker moments of its own 100-year history under the carpet.”

Another Reporter feature to have been widely followed up concerned the ‘smart’ cameras being developed by Professor David Hogg in the School of Computer Studies. The Daily Telegraph catalogued the possible uses of the people-tracking technology, such as identifying suspicious behaviour by car thieves or spotting terrorists. The report also raised the related concerns of civil liberties groups regarding surveillance cameras.

Research at the University made the headlines in a Sunday Times article on the ‘sensationalism’ and ‘coarsening’ of standards in ITV soap operas such as Emmerdale. It reported that research in Communications Studies – which showed that soaps had a greater effect on viewers’ behaviour than did other genres – will reinforce demands for greater parental guidance on recommended age limits for all programmes.

The Guardian reported on the problem faced by one woman when her mother decided to leave her body to the University’s Medical School for research purposes, and she was left wondering how to lay her body to rest. Kath Worrall describes how the University organised a ‘‘wonderful memorial and thanksgiving service’’ for all those who had donated their bodies to science, that enabled relatives, academics and medical students to pay their last respects.

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