London, you old charmer

My thoughts of London have always been influenced by the almost-fairytale imagery of ornate castles, graceful and noble royalty and a kingdom of people who seemingly loved off-the-wall comedy and highly emotional and dramatic theater, film and television – all with equal fervor. And, frankly, I hope nothing that happens while I’m here completely removes that veil.

I mean, sure, I want to know the “real” London (well, as much as you can know in two weeks). But I’d like at least a few of my youthful imaginings to remain intact, namely the dream of a place so gentile as to be above any petty human failings.

Dose of reality

OK, so there’s a venerable monarch but she’s not astride a white horse doling out pounds. And the Tube (subway train) can be crowded and its riders oblivious.  But what I have found in the short time I’ve been in London are the things I mentioned above and also the things I consider quintessentially British: overcast skies, stylish citizens, warm pubs, avid football fans (soccer for my American audience), eccentric driving, complex streets, a pervasive energy, a fast pace, a melting pot of colonial sons and daughters coming “home,” streets teeming with different languages and a mix of stoicism and contentment.

So much _______, so little time

I could fill in the blank with a great many words: history, architecture, art, construction, outdoor scenery, shopping. I guess it all comes down to one: London. So much London and so little time. I’ve been walking and “Tube-ing” around the city for a few days now. There’s so much to show and tell. Below are just nine out of the dozens of the photos I’ve taken since I’ve been here. If you’re looking for some insight into the out-of-the-way places and views of the London you can rarely see, you might want to check back later. These photos are straight-up nerdy tourist. 

Oh and by the way, I had to tell my mother that there are some folks (Indian) who make southern fried “Perfect Chicken” that rivals the best in the U.S. Surprisingly, she didn’t balk at the comparison, but wondered how I ended up coming all the way to London just to eat fried chicken.


Akron Beacon Journal newsroom, 2013

It’s 1a.m., and I’m the only one left in the newsroom. It’ reminds me of the McChesney and Pickard book “Will the Last Reporter Please Turn Out the Lights.

Looking back

I titled this blog post “Growing” because I wanted to reflect not only on the research I have completed but also look at the arc of my understanding and knowledge about the diversity in newsrooms in this time of great upheaval in journalism. I feel especially close to this topic. It is part and parcel of how I came to journalism: the need to hear and see all voices reflected in one the most influential forms of communication in the world. I am inspired daily by the struggle to push this idea forward within the sphere of my professional and academic environment.

Mark Turner's cup of deadlines.

Deadlines. Schmedlines. One of the things that just don’t change.

The story remains the same

Something else that has inspired me through the research is that the minority journalists — I suspect most journalists — have not lost sight of their primary goals: to tell great stories that inform, engage, provoke, and entertain. Obviously the platforms, the skills, and the resources necessary to tell those stories have changed. So, too, has the concerted push for racial diversity. The journalists I spoke to had all worked for Knight-Ridder newspapers (They are no more). The company was at the forefront of recruiting and hiring diverse staffs. The chain’s exit seemed to coincide with a loss of a push for diversity. Interviewees were quick to say that an awareness still exists around diversity issues but are less important in staffing and more important in content and coverage (I believed and still believe the two have a common cause). The business of journalism was perceived to always be the filter through which any idealogically- or philosophically-based changes must pass.


I have shared what surprised me during my interviews and have been all but laughed at by other researchers. I found that age as a diversity issue raised its head more often than that of racial diversity for journalists. The finding speaks directly to the digital age’s exponential growth. Although I understand the need for more youthful voices, I still believe that an experienced journalist can be taught the new tricks of the trade and that their storytelling abilities match up against the awareness or technological skills of digital natives.

2013-04-28 00.57.15

This is one of the last non-digital clock in the newsroom of the Akron Beacon Journal.

The time is now

England has led the way in journalism in many ways. To paint with a broad brush, London’s often irreverent and push-the-envelope approach to covering the news has affected journalism globally. It also has to deal with diversity like few other countries as members of the former British “colonies” have come home. During my trip in London, I expect to ask similar questions during interviews with journalists and educators as I did with their American counterparts. They are Lionel Morrison along with other members of the members of the National Union of Journalists including Connie St. Louis and Kamil Ahmed. I hope to explore how our countries’ cultures impact minority journalists before and in the midst of our new environment.

London, here I come.

… Must-see

A journey with a view. 

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I wish I had some cool off-the-beaten path places that I must see in London, but I don’t. Well, at least not yet. I’m going to London – like so many other travelers before me – armed with a list of historic and iconic places (and one person) that have called the tourist in me to go see.

Why them? 

I want to share an experience. I suspect that’s one of the biggest draws for most popular tourist destinations.  And although I am an avowed introvert, I

Continue reading “… Must-see”


mark photos 214

Meet Eclipse and Nova.

I rescued them once, and they rescue me daily. I know I will be back. But they don’t know that. For the two weeks I’m gone, they’ll stand by the door every night around 1 a.m. waiting for it to open. It won’t open then. And when it does open hours later, it’ll be Karen the sitter and not me. London calls, and I must heed this rare chance to stretch spirit, sinew, and synapse. I’ll be back. And I will gush, and they will be tentative. They ARE cats after all. I will have conquered greater London in the name of Thor (Our Thor, not the Norse god). I know there will be great people and experiences to come. And maybe I’ll even go back. But right now, as I try to type without disturbing the kids — I mean cats — at my side, I’m a little worried.