MU Students Tour European Media

Tour of IFRA
Missouri students visited IFRA, the world’s largest newspaper industry trade association, for a briefing on the European newspaper industry. IFRA is in Darmstadt, Germany.

Columbia, Mo. (Jan. 24, 2005) — Thirty students from the School of Journalism spent two weeks in early January touring European media operations and in the process visited Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt and Vienna.

This was the second year the School has sponsored a European Media Study Tour, an idea conceived by Brian S. Brooks, associate dean for undergraduate studies and administration.

Mainz, Germany
Students visited an open-air market in Mainz, Germany, after a visit to the Gutenberg Museum.

“We want as many of our students as possible to have an international experience,” Brooks said. “Many can’t afford to spend a semester studying abroad, so a trip like this at least gives them exposure to other countries and their media operations.”

This year, the students were divided into two groups, one led by Brooks and the other by Jennifer Moeller, an assistant professor in the magazine sequence. Brooks was assisted by Elizabeth Brixey, an assistant professor in the news-editorial sequence, and Moeller was joined by Gary Grigsby, an assistant professor in broadcast news.

Missouri students visit the Austrian television network in Vienna.

Among the media visits for the groups were two American operations based in Europe, the Wall Street Journal Europe in Brussels and Stars and Stripes, the U.S. military newspaper based in Griesheim, Germany, a suburb of Darmstadt. That gave students a sample of what it’s like for an American journalist to work abroad. The groups also received command briefings at U.S. Army Europe headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany.

Most of the media visits, however, gave students exposure to European media institutions and governmental operations. The groups visited European Union offices in Brussels and Vienna as well as United Nations offices in Vienna.

Ken Gepfert, BJ '66
Ken Gepfert, BJ ’66, right, told students about the Wall Street Journal Europe, where he serves as Page One editor. Afterward, Gepfert joined the Missouri students and faculty for dinner.

“Most American students don’t understand the European Union,” Brooks said. “This was a great opportunity to see how the EU is reshaping European governmental institutions. Visiting the United Nations is also a wonderful experience because few of our students have had any exposure to it.”

Media stops on the tour included Marie Claire magazine in Paris; the French equivalent of the FCC; TeleFrance 2, a television network; the Frankfurter Allgemeine, perhaps Germany’s most prestigious newspaper; the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Germany; Austrian Radio and Television in Vienna; ifra, the world’s largest newspaper industry trade organization, based in Darmstadt; Publicis, a public relations agency in Paris; and DevarieuxVillaret, an ad agency in Paris.

In Vienna, the group mingled with students of the European Journalism Academy, and in Paris students met counterparts from Sciences Po University, one of France’s most prestigious universities. Both are exchange partners of the Missouri School of Journalism. In both places, Missouri students met European students who had visited or studied at the School of Journalism.

Broadcast journalism major Sara Mijares of Miami, Fla., and Julien Ricard, a professor at Sciences Po University in Paris. Ricard served as guide for the Missouri students.

In addition to the media visits, students were able to take in the sights and sounds of some of the most beautiful cities in Europe. The tour included trips to the Louvre Museum in Paris, the Modern Art Museum in Brussels, attending the symphony in Vienna to hear Mozart and Strauss and visiting the castle in Heidelberg, all of which helped round out the European experience.

Students are producing papers or multimedia accounts of their experiences and will earn two hours of credit.

“Programs such as the European Study Tour and other faculty-led programs have allowed the School to dramatically increase study abroad participation in recent years,” said Fritz Cropp, director of international programs. “Last year, 12 percent of our undergraduate students were able to participate in a study abroad program, and we hope to increase that number this year.”

“We intend to do this again next year,” Brooks said. “It’s a great opportunity for our students, some of whom had never before been out of the country.”

Updated: April 1, 2020

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