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The following article is the third of a four-part series contributed by SJMC graduate student, Joshua Morrison. Check back tomorrow for the conclusion, or make your way down the page to see what opportunities London had to offer the students.
With four years now under its belt, the London/Europe study abroad program through the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Texas State University has established an exciting and dynamic format.
For the past four years, the program leaders have taken students to London and a revolving door of additional locations. In past years, the program has had students travel to Cardiff, Edinburgh and Paris. This year’s secondary destination was the grand city of Rome.
By having a rotating stable of locations, the program is able to continuously make new professional contacts for the SJMC and its students. This year, students were able to visit both Il Fatto Quotidiano, a young, independent Italian newspaper, and RAI, Italy’s national broadcasting company.
For students, these visits provided a rare opportunity to see inside news organizations operating in a vastly different context than their own. Unlike the United States, Italy has only two major news outlets. Of these two outlets, one is state-owned and the other is owned by an important Italian politician.
It was thus a fascinating, and inspiring, experience for students to visit an independent news organization like Il Fatto Quotidiano, which has to struggle against the duopoly to find a place in the media market. Students were quick to praise the organization’s independent spirit.
“Stepping into the building, you knew they were something different,” said senior David Coronado. “They are the media that is free in a country with restricted media.”
Graduate student Breanna Salinas echoed Coronado’s sentiments.
“I was completely impressed with Il Fatto Quotidiano because they are fearless in what they write,” she said.
Nonetheless, the students’ visit to RAI provided a valuable perspective as well.
Joshua Morrison, a graduate student, was particularly interested in the way RAI employees conceived of their jobs.
“It was fascinating because even though RAI is state-owned, the employees were still insistent that they work for the public, not the government,” he said.
The visit to RAI also provided students with the unique opportunity to watch a live, in-studio news broadcast, and see all of the technology and preparation that goes into the broadcasting process.
“Seeing all of the technology and watching how the news program runs behind the scenes was the best,” said graduate student Dylan Lochridge-Fletcher. “I grew up with my dad being a technical director for a local news channel, so I can appreciate all of the hard work that is put in to make a newscast happen at RAI. ”