Man Met student creates support group for those affected by Monday’s terror attack

  • Alicia Hattersley discusses press conduct in light of the Manchester attacks
  • Alicia would like to create a support group for attack witnesses if anyone would like to get involved please contact: [email protected]

I’m 21, and as much as I try and hide it I love teen queen stars and cheesy pop.

I was (still am) a Directioner, I am obsessed with Little Mix (seeing them again in October) and from the age of five I was at Sheffield arena every year seeing different noughties bands from Steps to S Club 7 to Girls Aloud.

I watch trash TV and reality TV, I get anxious if I miss an episode of TOWIE and went to Essex for my birthday purely so I could go to Sugar Hut.

And on Monday I was at Manchester Arena to see Ariana Grande.

When her tickets went on sale back in September my housemate and I, with our fresh student loans, committed ourselves to the fact we were going to be there, no matter what.

We had an amazing night, which ended in the worst and most scary way imaginable. I am heartbroken at the loss of those who stood alongside me in that Arena, those who sung the words to One Last Time in perfect unison just half an hour before the bomb went off.

I am so happy people are giving Ariana credit for the amazing show she put on, people all over the globe are sending her love, she must be feeling horrendous right now, since it was her fans who lost their lives. Although, for me, seeing certain journalists slam her for being all that ‘ISIS hate’ because she has amazing stage outfits, which they deem revealing, is sickening.

MMU Offers counselling to those affected
MMU has bene offering counselling to students affected by Monday’s attacks
Alicia wants to extend this to all those impacted

As a third-year Multimedia Journalism student on the verge of graduating, I feel I am open minded and freshly educated on the way the media works. Although I have little paid experience in professional media practice, I feel I have some right to comment on the media conduct I have witnessed first-hand on since Monday night’s attack.

Commending The BBC, Sky News, and other news organisations goes without saying. However, the standout coverage has come from The Manchester Evening News. They have exemplified amazing journalism whilst grouping together to help Mancunians and accurately cover the unfolding events.

Shoddy journalism, on the other hand, I have also been subjected to. American’s leaking information, every news website stating different statistics, it is hard to filter through the noise.

Since Monday night I have been bombarded by press wishing to interview me about my experience of the attack. Even the Wall Street Journal contacted me on Linkedin. This is to be expected and I am very happy to speak to certain press members in a respectful way. However, insensitivity and pestering upon no response is inappropriate. Comforted by my amazing lecturers who have spent many years covering events like this I feel I made the right decisions on how to tell my story.

Currently, I am at my Mum’s house near Sheffield, writing this from my bedroom where I feel helpless and alone even though I know I have an amazing support network around me. I want to help people like myself who have witnessed the most horrific things, that they never thought they would ever witness in their lifetime. Those can’t get the sights and sounds out of their head.

I want to help people process what they have seen, but I don’t have the foggiest idea on where to start. I have gone through a range of emotions since Monday, the most recent one being defiance, we will not let this define us. Manchester is the best city in the world us Northerners will not be beaten by terrorists and from the videos of St Anne’s Square and the Albert Square vigil that is apparent.

I am aware my experience is not the worst, nor the most saddening and I just can’t stop thinking about the injured and those who have lost loved ones. But, what I want to know is how can we who don’t know what to do, do something to help?