Scholar report: Soledad Puente

In this Scholar report, Soledad Puente, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, discusses her time in the UK and briefs us of her meeting with some well known journalism scholars and media outlets.

2013.03.31 | Hannah Spyksma

Much More Than Classes

When I was preparing for my stay in England and Wales, I never expected it was going to be so interesting. My idea was to use that time doing research, meeting colleagues, and doing interviews about two of my main projects: natural disasters and journalism routines. I had much more than that: a living experience.

At Swansea University I was received by professor Kevin Williams, who opened many doors for me, especially regarding their Risk courses.

I got in touch with professors Chas Critcher and Janet Harris, both in charge of the course Risk Reporting for the Erasmus Mundus Master’s. We discussed bringing learning into practice and the main literature required for a course such as this. In their library I was able to access all the information they had on one of the most important disasters of the 20th century: the Aberfan mining disaster of 1966, in which 144 people died, mainly children.

The library of Swansea University has very good access to documents, and very nice people in charge, which was very important in order to have access to the Aberfan documents.

I was able, as well, to interview professor Simon Cottle, from the Media and Communication department at Cardiff University, a well known author on crises in global media.

London was a non-stop journey. I was received by professor Neil Thurman, who arranged everything regarding my stay.

There I gave two lectures on the Chilean experience of the 2010 earthquake. One, for professor Suzanne Franks, was on the reporting experience, and the other, for professor Connie St. Louis, was on content analysis.

I also conducted interviews. One of the best was with a professor in law and criminology from King’s College, Penny Green, who had a very interesting way of differentiating between the concepts of disaster and catastrophe.

I used my time not only talking about disasters and catastrophes, but also in interviews about journalism with John Mulholland, editor of The Observer, and Iain Haddow, of BBC World News, who hosted a day visit at the BBC News headquarters at Oxford Circus.

I had dinner with professor John Ellis and Rosalin Coward. Ellis, a professor of Documentary, and Coward, a journalist for the Guardian. The conversation was about routines and TV language for journalism.

It was an excellent idea to mix the Swansea experience with the one in London. I’m really grateful and would do it all again. The trip allowed me to get in touch with first-rate scholars, meet people working in my area, and gave me time to do some reflective work and really live the experience, rather than rush it.

Soledad Puente, of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, was an Erasmus Mundus Visiting Scholar at Swansea University and City University London from January 17 to February 24, 2013

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