Tuesday, May 31 was our last full day in London. Wow – it went by so, so fast. But we still had one of the most exciting media tours planned for this day – the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), and also later in the day, a trip to The Guardian, one of London’s largest print newspaper publications.
At 10:15 a.m., we arrived at the BBC where everyone was extremely friendly and welcoming. We all received visitors badges and had to enter through security before being shown around the premises. We were taken around by two tour guides, and learned right from the start that the BBC is owned by the public, and that they also pay a licensing fee. It is the biggest news operation in the world, and they employ people from all around the globe. The tour was both educational and interactive. We also learned that the structure of the BBC building is in the shape of a question mark. We were taken to see the studios – some of them the largest in Europe. We were also able to practice reading the news like a true anchor would. Being able to see the news rooms was also really eye-opening, and I think caught the attention of many of us.
When we were done at the BBC it was time for lunch, and some of us headed over to Covent Garden Market for a nice meal and to wander around the shops. The coolest shop was in this market – a place called the ‘Tea Zone,’ that had many, many different flavors of teas and cocoas, and many of them had free samples.
We arrived back to the hotel with only a couple of minutes to spare before having to head out to The Guardian, in the same area as Kings Cross station. The Guardian was not what I thought it was going to be at all – it was located in an extremely large building with futuristic characteristics and paintings all throughout the lobby and the conference room we were in. I imagined this newspaper ‘place,’ to be a small, hole in the wall building with journalists running around everywhere. Instead the atmosphere was quiet and calm. The Guardian strives for strength, depth, and success. The paper itself is over 100 years old. One of their editors, Chris Elliott came into talk to us about the structure of the paper, and answer any questions we had. He was extremely knowledgeable and definitely a great writer. Gaining insight from him as a journalist was really beneficial. Even though print media is slowly dying, Elliott stressed the fact that people enjoy The Guardian’s approach to news, and he doesn’t see it crumbling anytime soon.
After the Guardian myself and a couple of others wanted to go out to dinner one last time. We found a strip-mall just blocks away from our hotel, and dined at a place called ‘Giraffe’ which made organic food. We headed over to Piccadilly Circus for one last time for souvenirs, and then took our last tube stop back to the hotel.
London was truly incredible. I wish that I could do this city more justice in words, but it’s hard to when everything, and everyone there is larger than life. The entire atmosphere, for lack of a better word, was just FUN the entire time. There was no language barrier, which made it extremely easy to communicate with others and navigate around the city. We were able to pick up on the current events going on at the time, the aftermath of the Royal Wedding, preparation and construction throughout the entire city for the Summer 2012 Olympics, the UEFA football match, and even protests throughout the city. The high-paced and high-energy lifestyles that the British lead is great, and it’s so easy to get swept away into it. We all truly miss London already, and I know that I, for one, will without a doubt will be paying more visits.