Why the Barclays Premier League will be the world’s best watched league in the 2016/17 season

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A host of Premier League managers eyeing silverware come May 2017

The 2015/16 Barclays Premier League season was the most entertaining and unpredictable season yet. With teams battling it out to stay in the league ahead of the new television deal that will see Premier League teams pocket a £40 million incentive and the race for European football places at its most fierce.

What unfolded was a dramatic season which saw a number of managerial casualties, an absolute meltdown from defending champions Chelsea FC and the sheer brilliance of the most unlikely and eventual champions Leicester City. With everything that unfolded in the season past from managerial appointments with the likes of Jürgen Klopp at Liverpool FC, Pep Guardiola at Manchester City FC, Antonio Conté at Chelsea FC and more recently José Mourinho at Manchester United FC, next season is already shaping up to be quite the humdinger!

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Image source: Football Wiki

For starters, Leicester City will be looking to defend their Premier League crown which they worked so incredibly hard for. The most overwhelming, underdog story in Premier League history unfolded as Claudio Ranieri guided The Foxes to their first ever league success – not bad for a team that were tipped to fight relegation. Next season Ranieri’s men will be looking to prove that they weren’t ‘just a flash in the pan’ and maintain their ‘top four’ status and, hopefully, retain their Premier League title.

Runners-up Arsenal, frustrated with their constant buckling finishes to the league campaign will hope that next season they can go one better and claim the trophy they last won back in 2004. With the club’s fans growing impatient with Arsene Wenger’s lack of silverware over the past few seasons accompanied by the lack of success in Europe, next season could very well be Wenger’s last at the Emirates Stadium.

Manchester City will be under the guidance of flamboyant Spaniard Pep Guardiola who will get his first taste of managing in the English league. Guardiola has made waves in his short managerial career, winning the league title in his first seasons with both FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively. At both his previous clubs, the stylish Spaniard inherited squads consisting of the world’s best footballers in their prime. This time however, Pep may not have it all that easy with the Man City squad a mixture of exciting, world class talent and players coming towards their successful spells. It is going to be very interesting to see how Guardiola fares in his first outing as an English football manager.

Tottenham Hotspur will have a tough act to follow after last season’s third place finish. Mauricio Pochettino’s men came within touching distance of lifting the Premier League crown but fell well short of the mark. Spurs will be encouraged by the dazzling season experienced last term by their stars, Christian Eriksen, Harry Kane and the sensational Dele Alli all stealing the show while pushing Spurs up the table in the process.

Manchester United had the pleasure lifting the FA Cup and equalling Arsenal’s record of 12 FA Cup successes but had a season to forget after finishing fifth behind neighbours Man City in fourth. With the majority of former Old Trafford players (and fans alike) voicing their displeasure at the style of football under Louis Van Gaal, the Dutchman saw his time at the helm come to an end soon after guiding the club to the FA Cup. The Red Devils are determined to step out of the shadows of their noisy neighbours Man City and reclaim their place as the dominant force in Manchester and England. The appointment of new manager and ex-Chelsea boss José Mourinho gives the Old Trafford faithful hope that the glory days will soon return while providing the league with a new and potentially ‘special’ dynamic.

Liverpool were among the big guns that failed to fire last term with a disappointing eighth place finish. The Reds suffered in the opening stages of the campaign under then manager, Brendan Rodgers who was eventually sacked in October. Jürgen Klopp, formerly of Borussia Dortmund, had taken over the Anfield hot-seat and aimed on building for the upcoming season. With the German at the helm, Liverpool were somewhat inconsistent for the remainder of campaign with a number of injuries to key players. Something Liverpool and their fans can take from the past season is the fact that Klopp guided the Anfield club to two finals, The Capital One Cup and Europa League respectively, in his short seven month spell in charge. The future looks bright for Liverpool under the guidance of the passionate German.

Defending champions Chelsea were dismal in their attempts to retain the title they had won under previous manager Mourinho. A fallout between Mourinho and the club’s hierarchy and players lead to Chelsea’s demolition and the eventual sacking of Mourinho. Caretaker manager Guus Hiddink stepped in to steady the sinking Chelsea ship and help ensure that The Blues finished as high as possible. Antonio Conté takes over the reins at Stamford Bridge next season and will be determined to give a good showing of himself and his footballing philosophy.

Apart from the so called ‘big guns’ of the English game, the rest of the top flight will be sure to follow from Leicester’s miraculous feat last season and reach for the proverbial brass ring that is the Premier League crown. With the new season well over a month away and Euro 2016 on the horizon, the 2016/17 season is shaping up to be a mouth-watering affair.

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Fast or First? Being right or being first in Social Media reporting

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We have all read a badly written article or column in a tabloid, newspaper or online publication that has left us scratching our heads asking the question, “How was this even published?” In today’s society, everything revolves around the latest trend or being the first to spark off a trend and much is the same with news and its reporting.

Journalists are starting to pop up left, right and centre with social media websites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to name a few. These platforms have given journalists a more effective and interactive way of reaching their audiences and followers but has also given rise to the existence of “overnight journalists”.

The aforementioned platforms give voices to individuals who are not necessarily trained or equipped with being journalists and reporters but hey, they have a live feed and a working internet connection so why not? Social media allows the broader public to stay in the know and be informed about breaking news and the latest trends but some of its users get ahead of themselves and that they now qualify as journalists because “it’s easy to put words on a page” – which is not the case! I am in no way trying to imply that social media users shouldn’t have their say but rather leave the reporting to actual, trained journalists.

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Another issue that has reared its ugly head within the realms of social media is ‘clickbait’. These are stories that have been created and published with the sole purpose of attracting a reader’s attention, luring them to a specific web page and generating a large number of readers through the use of either catchy or intriguing headlines. Sound familiar? These are stories or so called “reports” that are not likely to be published further than these online websites and are circulated via social media which essentially serves as spam.

Clickbait stories generally contain numerous amounts of grammatical and spelling errors whilst containing fabricated “truths” with an inconclusive conclusion. By having a brief read of these stories these errors would be easy to spot much like when dealing with social media accounts who claim to be ‘in the know’ (ITK). Often we find a great deal of fault in the manner in which these accounts engage with their audiences as well as the structure of their updates.

Granted, a journalist as well as media houses make mistakes from time to time but with these self-proclaimed ITK sources and ‘social media journalists’ the focus is all about being the first to break the news – and they like to remind you by using phrases like, “You heard it here first” or “EXCLUSIVE”. It is one thing to advertise and promote your brand (or yourself) but social media journalists tend to oversell which removes a bit of their credibility, or lack thereof.

Social media journalists and clickbait aside, what frustrates me about the idea of faster being smarter is how careless people can be when trying to get their messages across. Well known, accredited journalists tend to lose the plot over the speed at which they deliver their stories and updates via social media. The slightest misspelling could lead to the reading of a story being completely different and ultimately a retraction. Not a good look for the journalist or their publication.

Gone are the days of traditional news where we would have to wait for the prime time news bulletin or tomorrow’s newspaper but with that era of news reporting came the guarantee of a top quality, polished news product. This unfortunately is not always the case when dealing with social media reporting as a whole.

With this new era of journalism and news reporting, professionally trained journalists (and aspiring journalists) need to adopt certain ethical approaches to ensure that they always deliver on their basic job description – telling the news. As a journalist, you need to make sure that you inform your readers, listeners or viewers first and foremost. Obviously there are deadlines that need to be met but that does not mean that you have to be careless in and with your work.

The question of ‘fast or first’ is an ethical one that can be unravelled when considering the ‘Golden Mean’ ethical issue. “It is suggested that journalists take a lesson from Aristotle, who argued for practical experience and theoretical substance. Aristotle’s “moral mean”; is recommended as a moral compass that will serve journalists who seek to be virtuous and avoid both defective and excessive practices.” It is a simple one in actuality, rather take the time to do the job well or don’t do it at all – leave it to the real journalists.

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There is however, an ethical approach that helps social media reporters justify their actions and mistakes and this is known as the ‘Categorical Imperative’. This ethical approach looks at and deals with evaluating motivations for one’s actions. A lazy reporter would rather try to justify his/her laziness than account for it, take it on the chin and ensure that it does not happen again.

It is the finer details that come with the territory of being a journalist that help distinguish between an “overnight journalist” and a professionally trained journalist. These intricate ethical questions and approaches are more likely to be consulted and evaluated by a good, professional journalist as opposed to the ‘lazier’ social media reporter. In conclusion, the end products of the two will inevitably end up in the same cyber sphere but the quality of the content is where the reader will see the difference between the question of ‘fast or first’.