marissahaas

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Bye, London

Can you believe the month is over?

In the spirit of closure, here’s a goodbye letter of sorts to London.

I came here quite unaware of British media. All I knew is that they didn’t have the first amendment, but I was unsure of what that looked like in practice.

As I explored British media, I fell in love with journalism all over again.

Touring the BBC was one of the coolest things I’ll ever do (along with visiting Parliament, CNN London, and meeting Catherine Mayer).

I found myself more interested in both investigative reporting and political journalism.

I learned that regulations can be a good thing!

I learned that ending up in big news corporations is about one-third luck, one-third talent, and one-third persistence. I also learned the joy of working for a small news organization like NewsQuest and reporting local, quirky news.

I am so eternally grateful for this trip and for all the inspirational people I got to meet.

I learned a lot about myself and even explored some areas of UK life that I thought I wouldn’t (like visiting the doctor and political activism).

I am going to miss being around influential journalists everyday, but I’m excited to take what I have learned and pour it into my future journalism courses in Hattiesburg.

Thank you for following along on my journey.

Cheers! 🇬🇧

British Media Coverage of American Politics

As a media student, I like to pay attention to what news corporations report on. One thing I didn’t expect was the extensive coverage of President Trump in UK papers.

The only time I’ve ever heard about Theresa May was when she held the referendum, but that was only because I followed British YouTubers on Twitter and they posted about it.

I’m sure somewhere, there has been reportage of Theresa May in American papers, but it’s nowhere near as prominent as the UK’s coverage of Trump.

I think American media is quite American-centric, whereas UK media is more international. It makes sense, though, because the UK encompasses Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales, so they have to have more of a represented worldview. However, I think it’d be nice if UK papers reported on the major things Theresa May was doing, or at least cover Brexit. (Which the New York Times does do, thankfully).

I’m also not sure if Americans would read or care about UK political news, but I certainly think it’s important to have some basic coverage.

The Guardian has a whole section on Donald

Imperialism to Humanitarianism: Commonwealth

David Grevemberg, CEO of Commonwealth House spoke to us about the imperialistic history of Commonwealth and what they are doing to reconcile.

I was delightfully surprised to learn about the human rights advocacy that Commonwealth does, and its quite a shock as the US is currently penalizing their players for protesting social justice inequalities. Quite the difference, it seems.

Commonwealth has been running games since 1930, making it the second oldest sports movement in the world. In fact, 1/3 of the world’s population are Commonwealth citizens. However, this is largely due to colonization and imperialism.

Because of this, Commonwealth is on a mission to help those they have wronged. They have established the Commonwealth charter, which lays out their duty to uphold peace, prosperity and the governance of human rights.

Commonwealth is politically active, and they have partnered with the UN to promote human rights.

In Glasgow, they partnered with UNICEF in 2014 in order to help unify the people of Scotland.

This is exactly how people can use communications to make a difference. They’re talking to people, hearing their stories and their interpretations of Commonwealth, and using that information to help Commonwealth change for the better. I’m such a fan. I’m always a fan of humanitarianism and political activism, but I never thought I’d see that intertwined with a sports federation.

The goals of Commonwealth.

Here, you can see the priorities of Commonwealth.

Oxford University – College, Press, and the Oxford English Dictionary

Friday, we went to the University of Oxford, which is perhaps the most prestigious university to exist. I, a mere 3.2 GPA student, felt quite unworthy to be there, but it was absolutely incredible.

We started our journey with a tour of Christ College, which is quite historical (as is the whole university). Christ College specifically teaches religious studies, and films like Harry Potter and The Golden Compass have been filmed there, as well.

Scenes from Harry Potter filmed at Christ College.

Everything here is so old and full of history, it’s incredible.

Inspiration for the Great Hall from Harry Potter.

 

After our tour, we went to Oxford University Press to learn about the history of publishing and the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

The press is famous for being the first to have ever printed a book, which is quite remarkable. Although they no longer print in-house, the press serves as a publishing company now, and they also help expand literacy across the globe. They have programs to teach children how to read, which I love.

Fun fact: Uppercase and lowercase got their names because capital letters were stored in cases above the lower ones!

We also learned that each year, 1800 new words are added to the OED. Anyone can submit a word to be added to the dictionary, and it then goes through evaluations to determine if it’s used enough (which would be five times in writing by different publications) to be added.

The first dictionary took decades to be compiled, and it took many people to complete it. It was a very expensive process, as well. J.R.R. Tolkien also worked on the dictionary! Super neat.

We also saw an iron printing press, which is evidently quite hard to use, as its heavy. Printers would work in teams of two for 11-hour shifts printing. One would load the ink on the paper, and the other would pull the levers to press the ink to the paper. Because the shifts were so long, they would switch jobs every hour.

Oxford University Press is a huge birthplace to modern media, and exploring it firsthand was an experience like no other.

The National Portrait Gallery

While my primary goal of the weekend was to visit the National Gallery agaiin, Carrie (a new BSP friend) and I decided to visit the National Portrait Gallery as well, since it was adjoint to the National Gallery and it was free.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but it didn’t disappoint.

The gallery starts out with a display of all the royal portraits and takes you through a visual tour of British history.

Queen Elizabeth I!

The gallery took you through all the portraits of the British monarchy, which I was vaguely familiar with from taking European History in high school. It’s so crazy seeing these paintings in person because they’re so old. Some are older than America (a common thing in London).

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William Shakespeare

There were also portraits of prominent figures and staples to British culture.

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Here’s a portrait of Ed Sheehan, which I absolutely did not expect to see.

 

It’s a bit surreal to see modern people in the gallery, mixed in with the 1000-year-old paintings.

Cate Blanchett!

I didn’t expect to have a good time at the Portrait Gallery because I don’t much like portraits, but it does provide to be a nice history lesson.

I think that if you’re into realism and/or British history, you should visit the National Portrait Gallery. I also like that it’s free to go here because when British schoolchildren are learning about history, they can pop on over here to see the portraits of the people they’re studying in person.