Journalism Abroad: Mizzou Student Talks European News

I can honestly say I have never been out of the United States. I have been as far north as Maine, far south as Texas and far west as the sandy beaches of California; but never to a different country. However, I have full intentions of going abroad in the next few years. The Europe area tops my list. Not only am I interested in the rich culture, but also enriching my knowledge of journalistic practices in the area.

Adam SmithFor that reason, I turned to a dear friend with some questions about his time in Europe. Meet Adam Smith. He interned in London at the NBC London Bureau. He was lucky enough to actually be there in 2012 when London hosted the Olympics.

Here is an example of some of the news that is done there.

Essentially, the bureau is a subsection of the main NBC headquarters, which is based in the United States. Reporters here focus on London news and other world affairs. Adam said seeing how reporters work in London was an experience he’ll never forget.

Nichole Cartmell: What made you want to study in Europe?

Adam Smith: Europe has always been a really special place to me, England in particular and London specifically. I had spent a week there the summer of 2008 and couldn’t wait to get back.

NC: I know you worked for NBC in its London Bureau. Were the news operations any different then what you had experienced as a producer at KOMU-TV in Columbia?

AS: I had never actually produced while at KOMU and the London bureau is different than a normal newsroom because shows aren’t actually produced from the bureau. The bureau produced a lot of segments for shows like Today or Nightly News. It also served as home-base for NBC’s European-based correspondents and as one of the key newsrooms for NBCNews.com.

NC: At Mizzou you studied convergence journalism. In what ways were reporters there making use of multiplatform reporting?

AS: The biggest thing I noticed was the use of social media. Many of the correspondents were constantly tweeting, updating Facebook, etc. Being a network, the correspondents had the luxury of not having to shoot their own pieces. However, there were a couple times where I was with web/digital producers who shot their own video for web stories.

NC: Generally speaking, is journalism perceived differently in Europe, than it is in the United States?

AS: Journalism, or the news at least, is very much part of daily life. While riding the Underground to/from work, one can always see people reading newspapers of every kind, from the tabloid The Sun to the prim and proper Financial Times. An interesting contrast I noticed is that while in the U.S., opinion journalism is seen more on television (Fox News, MSNBC, etc.) and print is seen as fairer, it is the opposite in the UK. Newspapers proudly show which side they support while broadcast is more balanced.

Now, Adam wasn’t kidding when he said news is a big part of the daily life of people living in London. I found one blogger who has dedicated his entire site to covering everything Charlton, a south-east part of London. It’s a hyperlocal blog with an emphasis on covering news that wasn’t in the mainstream.Adam Smith2

 NC: What news do people in London seem to care most about? Are there any specific things U.S. reporters should focus on when covering news over there?

AS: Londoners are much like Americans in what they like to consume; it’s mainly just a difference in subject matter. There’s certainly a lot of interest in British TV and reality shows, and certainly in sports where soccer reigns supreme. Because London is such an important player in the world economy, finance and business news is extremely important.  And, of course, there’s always politics.

If a U.S. reporter is going to cover London/England, they need to recognize the major differences. Britons are not going to care about baseball or American football. And if covering politics, a working knowledge of parliamentary systems and European Union politics is key. The U.S. is very unique in its political system and the way it’s set up does not carry over to most countries.

 NC: You are now a producer for KOTV in Tulsa. How did studying abroad help strengthen your journalistic practices?

AS: It certainly gave me an even greater appreciation for international/world news than I already. Many Americans are ignorant of the world outside their city or state, let alone their country. It helped me develop in my mind that I have a responsibility to help expand that knowledge.

NC: Journalistically speaking, what experiences in London do you wish you could incorporate to your work now?

AS: It’s certainly a pie-in-the-sky desire for local news, but having the access right there to correspondents to go around the world to report just for us would be awesome. Also, just the access to the incredible locations, comparable to St Paul’s Cathedral or the Olympics and such.

Adam isn’t the only person that I found who enjoyed their time working with NBC in London. Check out what Ithaca College student Nicole Ogrysko had to say about her time there.

Looks like I am definitely going to have to take a trip to London!