As the journey comes to an end, it’s been interesting to compare the mass media in the United Kingdom back to the mass media in the United States. There were many similarities in their media compared to America, but there were some differences as well. I spent the past week in Edinburgh, Scotland, and noted a few things about the media there.
We started our journey in Scotland with a trip to BBC News in Glasgow. In America, we have many different news stations and outlets as a way to keep us updated with what’s going on in the world. We don’t pay for these programs specifically, but you pay for cable instead. BBC News is so different than news stations in America, and is quite interesting. For starters, BBC News is the United Kingdoms main source for news (online, radio, television, social media). What makes it so unique is that it is a publicly funded program; they do not take money from advertising. Because they don’t get funded through advertising, there are no commercials. All British households with a television are charged an annual television license fee of £145.50. With this cost, you are able to have access to all forms of media that BBC News has to offer. Because the people are the ones paying, BBC has to make sure that every single thing they say and the facts they present are 100% accurate. They can’t just estimate a number in a situation, which often makes them a little slower than other news stations on relaying all of the information from an event that happens.
In the United States, every household has the choice to pay for cable. Depending on whatever plan you pay for, you are given access to specific channels. I thought it was interesting that BBC makes you pay an annual fee, but it is a smart idea. Not only are you getting the truth (no fake news), they save a ton of money than the people in the United States who pay for cable monthly. It would be a good idea for America to bring a program like BBC in, I think it could be very successful.
In Scotland, they are big on their Tartan (also known as a kilt). During our trip, we visited Kinloch Anderson – one of the most successful kilt making companies in the world. They are actually going on six generations of a family run business which I found awesome. Every kilt communicates something different to the person who is wearing it. When a man wears a tartan, it can communicate to other people who they that person is, where they come from (what district they are from), and it can communicate wealth as well. Some families pass on their tartan through many generations, and only a person in that family can wear that kilt. When a man wears a kilt in Scotland, he gains respect; it shows his true masculinity. A kilt takes over eight hours to make (they are hand sewn) and the cost for just the kilt itself starts at £500. That cost is just for the kilt itself, not any of the other items you can get. Fun fact: Michigan State has its own registered tartan called the “Spartan Tartan.”
In America, a man wearing a kilt would seem rather silly. It would definitely spark up some conversation. It’s interesting how something in one country can be completely respectable, but in another country can be seen as foolish. Even the dress to a wedding is different in Scotland than it is in the United States. In America, when a man is getting married he is usually dressed in a nice suit and tie, but in Scotland it is very unlikely than a man is not wearing his tartan to his wedding. While at Kinloch Anderson, one of my fellow classmates asked a very interesting question. Some of my classmates in my group went to Catholic school for many years, and for the girls, that required them to wear a plaid skirt. The question was: “Does a plaid skirt in America have any significance to a tartan?” Our presenter told us that plaid is the same exact thing as tartan, for whatever reason we call it plaid.
Towards the end of our Scotland journey, we had the opportunity to visit the Edinburgh film house. Luckily, we were in Scotland during an important time for film – the Edinburgh International Film Festival (EIFF). The ed film festival started on June 21st and ends on July 2nd; every night there are independent films shown. While we were there, we talked with Diane Henderson. Diane is the Deputy Artistic Director of the EIFF. Though these are probably the busiest days out of the year of her life, she was nice enough to talk with us about film and the submission process for festivals. She compared the Edinburgh International Film Festival to a festival like Sundance, so it is a big festival. When talking about the submission process, Diane couldn’t stress enough how important it is to find the right festival for your film, not for you, but simply for your film. Don’t just submit your film to a big festival at the beginning of your career because it can break your film (even if your film is really good). They get anywhere between 3,500-4,000 films to watch every year. To submit your film for it to be reviewed costs £120 which is more than other film festivals charge. Film lovers will watch every single film TWICE and record feedback for the staff to decide if the film will be chosen for the festival.
In America, there are many different film festivals (Sundance, American Film Festival, etc.) I personally am not a film major, nor have I ever attended a film festival, but I can it imagine that film festivals are pretty much all similar when it comes to the format of the festival all around the world.
Comparing media in all five different countries to media in America has been interesting, especially because there are just as many similarities as there are differences. I am so grateful that I was able to have this experience, and I look forward to bringing back my knowledge to America. I recently graduated with a degree in advertising (creative) and this was an awesome way to end my college career. I take advantage of any opportunity I can to learn about media, and to see what I can take away from that opportunity.