World Media class takes on London: Media capital of Europe

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Students in Dr. Jamie Litty's World Media class visited Stonehenge during a recent trip to Europe. DePaul Barron, far left, Marcus Shoffner, Kayla Carson, Samantha DeBusk, Sara Goldsberry and Stephanie Reeder
Students in Dr. Jamie Litty's World Media class visited Stonehenge during a recent trip to Europe. DePaul Barron, far left, Marcus Shoffner, Kayla Carson, Samantha DeBusk, Sara Goldsberry and Stephanie Reeder

Dr. Jamie Litty’s World Media course in the spring came with a class trip to London, England, where students visited the European headquarters of Bloomberg Television and the London offices of Concord Bicycle Music, the fifth-largest music company in the world. 

Traveling during Maymester, the students also had time to take in the musical Wicked in London’s West End. From the ancient Rosetta Stone at the British Museum, which helped 19th-Century scholars decode Egyptian hieroglyphics, to the subversive feminist advertising of the Guerrilla Girls at the Tate Modern, students got up close and personal with issues in international communications.

Before the trip, guest speakers in class included Dr. Cliff Mensah, a UNCP economics professor from Ghana, Chinese students in UNCP’s English-as-a-Second Language program, and Brendan Wong, a former news anchor and broadcasting professor in Singapore, who Skyped in to class despite the 12-hour time difference.

“You might think we’d go somewhere more exotic for the travel portion of the course,” said Litty, professor and chair of the Mass Communication Department. “But London is a multicultural city and international media hub that at the same time offers a level of familiarity and comfort for students who have never been out of the U.S. before. 

At Bloomberg Television, students toured with Operations Manager P.J. Burns, who talked about controlling live feeds from around the world and let students listen-in on the director’s cues during a live studio production, where the audio from an interview in Switzerland had dropped out.  He also discussed employment practices and their eco-friendly building, which opened in 2017 and last year won the Stirling Prize in architecture.  

At Concord, students talked with Jim Selby, chief revenue officer, about music publishing rights and other aspects of the business.  For example, Concord gets 90 percent of the songwriting royalties on Ariana Grande’s hit “7 Rings” because she interpolated “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music, which Concord owned through its acquisition of the Rodgers & Hammerstein catalog.  They also talked about moneymakers such as Kidz Bop, which is expanding into China.

“Deciding to participate in a study abroad was one of the best decisions I’ve made,” broadcasting major Kayla Carlson said. “For me, it was an opportunity not only to travel and create amazing memories, but to take information that I’ve learned in the classroom and encounter it first-hand in another country.” 

Students also enjoyed excursions to the ancient city of Bath, where Jane Austen set her novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion; Windsor Castle, where the Queen was in residence that day; and Stonehenge.

“Stonehenge is one of the most recognizable monuments of the Neolithic period. These were people with no written culture who nevertheless left this great ‘testament’ behind,” Litty said.

“Some scholars believe Stonehenge was the center of ancient Britain, and it shows Bronze-Age evidence of international trade, so it was no great stretch to include this iconic site in our itinerary.”