UNT students report in London on royal birth

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Lefteris Pitarakis/AP
Members of the media gather across St. Mary's Hospital exclusive Lindo Wing in London on Monday. Prince William’s wife, Kate gave birth to a baby boy Monday afternoon.

As Prince William and Kate prepared Monday to welcome their son, University of North Texas students joined with crowds outside the St. Mary’s Hospital in London to experience baby fever.

A group of students on a study abroad trip, which focuses on British media and international advertising, spent Monday afternoon outside the hospital documenting the scene and speaking to international media outlets.

“I really enjoyed it because since we are learning about all of the British media in class, to first hand see it and experience all these things we’ve been talking about,” said Parnia Tahamzadeh, a junior advertising and journalism student on the trip.

The group of 18 students arrived in London on July 7, led by professors Tracy Everbach and Peter Noble. Everbach is teaching the media portion of the study abroad and said she had worked the royal baby into the lesson plans on the media and how an international event would be covered.

“We knew going into this that the baby would probably be born, so we were able to build it into the class, so it’s pretty cool that they can go experience it,” she said.

The students were unable to live tweet or blog from the hospital because they could not access Internet service.

So Everbach later posted photos to the class blog, and the students said they would be updating their social media feeds and blogs with their experiences.

Everbach said the students were not able to stay for the actual announcement of the birth due to a scheduled class field trip Monday evening, but the students saw billboards and marquees with the announcements after the birth, said E.J. Stancil, a junior journalism and strategic communications major.

“I truly feel honored to be a part of this moment in history and to feel connected with the English community in such an intimate way,” Stencil said Monday night in an e-mail. “Not many Americans, let alone people, have the privilege to be a part of a moment like this.”

Outside the hospital Monday, some of the students took photos and tried to interview people there, but the questions were then flipped back at them. Tahamzadeh said after she asked a German woman about waiting out the birth, the woman then interviewed her and Stancil for her news broadcast.

Other students were also interviewed as they walked along rows of international news trucks — including BBC News, CNN, Fox News, German and Spanish channels — and observed how the live shots and interviews were conducted.

“I thought it was really interesting — at the end of every interview, every reporter would ask if they thought it was a boy or a girl,” said Mollie Jamison, a senior journalism student.

Several of the reporters asked if the students came to London just for the birth, and some were even looking specifically for Americans, Jamison added. They also asked why the students went to the hospital, which Stancil said was to see media working on a large event and experience history.

“Just being able to say that we were there at the birth of the prince or princess, or king or queen, is something most people won’t be able to say,” Stancil said.

David Halloran, a graduate student on the trip who studies photojournalism, said that in addition to several news trucks, he was interested in the photojournalists who were waiting to get a shot of royalty leaving the hospital.

“It was interesting to see it from a photographer’s eye — how they had their gear and everything set so that as soon as something happened they were able to get a photo of the action,” Halloran said.

The students have started uploading the information and images online, and said the experience has been exciting for them and their loved ones, and some plan to visit Buckingham Palace on Tuesday to see the physical birth announcement.

“I think it’s been really cool for my family and a lot of friends back home,” Jamison said. “My mom is really ecstatic because she’s followed English history in general, so me being here meant a lot to her.”

The student blogs are available at http://maybornlondon.wordpress.com.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.

 


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