China Through TIME
A dozen students from the CU Journalism & the Mass Communication program, International Affairs and Asian Studies spent two weeks in Beijing this summer, participating in one of CU’s Global Seminars. The courses are part of a campus effort to give undergraduates more opportunities to study abroad. JMC Professor and UNESCO Chair Meg Moritz designed the seminar, first offered two years ago, in collaboration with her then-doctoral student, Zheng Laing (Ph.D. Comm ‘11) who is now on the faculty of Xinjiang University and who joined the group as a visiting scholar.
Entitled “China Through TIME,” this year’s course started with classes in Boulder where students studied the role of Time magazine and its founder Henry Luce in shaping contemporary views of the world’s most populous nation. The class then moved to China itself where the students met with U.S. and Chinese journalists for discussions on contemporary media issues in China today. Over a two-week period in Beijing, students met with investigative reporters and editors, environmental experts, economics and business analysts, and cultural critics, including one who tracks the underground rock music scene in the capital. Visits to major operations at Reuters, China Radio International, the New York Times and CBS were all highlights but the most memorable morning may have been at TIME where more than 100 magazine covers on China are framed and hung on the walls. Hosting the group was bureau chief Hannah Beech, author of the recent and highly controversial Time cover on radical Buddhism.
The course required students to produce their own original reporting while they were on the ground in Beijing. Among the topics: street fashion, bargaining in the markets, indigenous foods, and persons with disabilities. In addition, numerous cultural activities were on the agenda, including climbing the Great Wall, attending a Chinese opera and a Chinese rock concert, having tea at a traditional tea house, visiting the National Art Museum, and running the track at the Olympic Stadium, popularly known at The Bird’s Nest. “Every day was jammed with activities because there was so much to do and see,” Moritz said. “Despite the heat, the traffic and the pollution, the students were thrilled with the whole experience. Travel is an education unlike any other and this year’s class certainly proved that point,” she said.
Moritz received a $60,000 Tang Foundation grant through CU’s Center for Asian Studies to support student scholarships and help defray travel costs.