Former Man Met student caught up in Manchester Arena attack talks about the media’s response to the incident

  • The Kerslake Review heavily criticised the reporting of the event by some members of the media
  • Alicia Hattersley, a former MMU student, was bombarded with messages after a Northern Quota article about her experiences was published by Manchester Evening News

Alicia Hattersley, a former MMU journalism student who was at the Ariana Grande concert, found herself bombarded with ‘insensitive’ messages from the media after a Northern Quota article detailing her experiences was published by the Manchester Evening News.

She was happy for her first-person account of the attack to go in the MEN but says was unprepared for the level of media interest it sparked from journalists around the world.

Alicia Hattersley
Alicia Hattersley

She said: “I guess some of the messages that I received were a bit insensitive. A lot of them were very rude. Some of the treatment was because people didn’t see a person behind a Facebook profile and realising that I had just experienced a trauma.

“Sending me messages like ‘What’s your phone number?’. It just wasn’t really appropriate.”

Alicia received so many enquires from the media that two members of the journalism staff from MMU had to help her sift through them.

Alicia added: “The BBC were probably one of the worst because they had about five different journalists contact me. They all worked for different programmes. There was one from Newsnight, there was someone from North West Tonight. They obviously weren’t communicating with each other.”

In the end, Alicia only spoke to Sky and Grazia but said that even then some of the questions were ‘obtrusive’ and intrusive after what she had gone through.

Without her knowledge of how the media works and the support of the journalism team at MMU, Alicia feels that others in the same situation would have struggled to cope with the level of media attention.

“Either, they probably wouldn’t have any of the interviews, or they would have done them and regretted doing them. And sometimes, I regret doing them, but it was just at the time, it felt like the right thing to do,” she said.