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C’est magnifique

Students recount a busy week investigating media issues in Paris

School of Communication and Medill School of Journalism students with an interest in media, news and international communication once again enjoyed an enlightening spring break trip to Paris as participants in the annual International Media Seminar, administered by EPICS. The program was started by Northwestern alumnus and former professor Lee Huebner and communication studies professor James Ettema and is sponsored by the School of Communication in cooperation with Paris’ Center for the Study of International Communications and the American University of Paris. The experience combines a week of seminars, discussions and tours with free time for relaxing and optional excursions. Here’s what the action-pack week looked like, with commentary from two of our SoC undergraduate students, senior communication studies major
Lauren Rimar and sophomore communication studies major Jen Madison. Photos courtesy of Jen Madison.

Sunday March 21: The group took a boat cruise on the River Seine and had dinner at the home of Constance and Dominque Borde, one of Paris’ pace-setting French-American couples.

“Their house was beautiful, and I felt like I had been transported back to 16th century France,” Rimar said. “Constance talked to us about her work in women’s rights and politics; she also discussed how she translated Simone Beauvoir’s famous book The Second Sex. It was truly fascinating and inspiring.”

Monday, March 22: The day’s activities included a series of seminars by people including Huebner, investigative reporter Barry Lando and Koosai Kedri, correspondent for KSA2, Saudi National Television.

“It was a good mix of media, journalism, advertising and business topics,” said Madison, adding that after seminars, students unwound with a trip to a sidewalk crepe stand.

Tuesday, March 23: Students had seminars with prominent media figures followed by trips to the International Herald Tribune and La Libération.

“The International Herald Tribune seemed to have a bit more of a sunny outlook (on the future) while La Liberation was more worried, especially concerning where print media was headed and how it was going to keep itself alive with all of the financial issues in the print news sector,” Rimar said.

Wednesday, March 24: Students visited with current and former editors and correspondents from publications like Travel and Leisure, Time and Asiaweek Magazinefollowed by an evening of free time.

“We did some shopping along Rue St. Dominique,” Madison said. “Then we took the RER to the Latin Quarter. There we saw Notre Dame… On the way back to the hotel, we walked by the Eiffel Tower to see the light show.”

Thursday, March 25: Students met with Jim Bittermann, senior on-air correspondent for Europe for CNN International, and his wife Pat Thompson, award-winning documentary producer.

“We also visited former photo news editor John Morris,” Madison said. “He is amazing and sharp as a tack. Now 93 years old, John Morris is legendary in the world of photography, and his life really mirrors American history.”

Friday, March 26: The group visited France TV24, the three-year-old all-news cable channel.

“What was most fascinating was that they run three different broadcasts at the exact same time, in French, English and Arabic,” Rimar said.