Firsthand discoveries

Santiago Travel Blog

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Cover of El Mercurio on September 12, 2001.
When the faculty in the IU School of Journalism proposed this class with a travel component, the goal was to see what was considered news in Latin America (in Chile, specifically), how news companies operated and how it compares to the U.S., through our own eyes. But throughout our excursions, observations and discoveries here in Chile, we have observed much more than just details about Latin American news coverage. By visiting this country and certain businesses firsthand, we have really begun to get to know the culture.

During our stay, we have visited educational and media outlets that have given us insight to the politics, culture and overall atmosphere of the country. First, we went to El Mercurio, which was creatied in 1827, making it the oldest Spanish-language newspaper in the world.
My amiga chilena, María José, at la Universidad.
Having visited more than one newspaper in the U.S., I found it interesting that newsrooms kind of look the same everywhere.

Our visits to the Catholic University were eye-opening as well, as we met Chilean students and talked to them about their college experiences. Like many other places outside the U.S., most students here live with their families throughout college and until they get married. The education system in general is also different. La Universidad Católica Pontificía has the only accredited journalism school in the world, outside the U.S. Its technology was much more advanced, the people friendlier (I personally think) and the curriculum more focused than la Universidad de Barcelona, the only other foreign university with which I am really familiar.
CNN Chile!
I also spoke to a law student there, María José, who said she will have her degree after about 5 years of undergraduate school, and then she will be licensed to practice throughout all of Chile, which I know is very different from how law degrees work in the U.S.

We also went to visit CNN Chile, CNN's newest of its eight networks, having just begun broadcasting about a year ago. Rodrigo Fernández, the director of operations for CNN Chile, talked to us about his career, his challenges and the Chilean characteristics that made it a good place to start a CNN network. Chile is one of the few countries in the worl where you can do journalism without censorship, like you can in the U.S. In most other countries, Fernández said, people have to worry about upsetting the government or advertisers, so their news quality suffers.
Newscasters at the station in Valparaíso.
Fernández gave us a lot of advice for beginning our careers in communications, like the importance of finding balance (and leaving work at work) and the truth of karma. "Karma is true," he told us. "If you're a bitch or a bastard, it will come back to haunt you." Very valuable information, I think.

After CNN, we visited Paula magazine, which is somewhat comparable to Vanity Fair in the U.S. Paula is run by all woman (by coincidence, we were told), and is known for bringing up controversial issues for women, like the "pill," domestic abuse and more. They also cover topics like politics, food and travel. They gave us all a few issues to keep as souvenirs.

Finally, we visited a TV station in Valparaíso yesterday, and got to watch their 6:00 newscast being taped. Although its studio and operations room were similar to TV stations in the U.S., the anchors seemed to be caught off guard when they saw us standing and watching them in the studio. Um, hello! You're on air, pretend we're not here. But it was still interesting to see and I could understand almost everything they were talking about. :)

Today, we went on a wine tour and tasting just outside Santiago in the mountains. It was just as glorious as it sounds. We've been doing plenty of shopping and exploring and other leisure activities in addition to our educational visits. And as I've already written, I've learned a lot about Chile just through its food (which is delicious. I could definitely live on seafood, potatoes and avocados.). But I think that no matter what we're doing, we're always learning about a culture so different from our own, yet so interesting and wonderful. It may be subconcious, but the things we've learned during the travel component of this course go so far beyond anything we could have learned in the classroom.
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Cover of El Mercurio on September …
Cover of El Mercurio on September…
My amiga chilena, María José, at…
My amiga chilena, María José, a…
CNN Chile!
CNN Chile!
Newscasters at the station in Valp…
Newscasters at the station in Val…
photo by: Bluetraveler