T4942 – The British Roots of American Journalism

London, Stratford-upon-Avon
Faculty: Mark Neuzil and Michael O’Donnell
01/01/2018 – 01/26/2018

The course will examine the British historical antecedents of American journalism from London, including ancient texts, communication technology, the idea of free expression and significant figures in U.K. journalism.

Academic Overview
The first Western newspapers originated in Great Britain; with them came the first attempts at limiting freedom of expression and counter attempt at guaranteeing press freedom.  While the Magna Carta is the document most closely associated with free speech in the land of kings, students will learn it is only part of the story.  These debates by people such as Daniel Defoe and John Stuart Mill worked their way through Britain, into the Colonies and eventually into the U.S. Constitution.

 The United Kingdom also is important in developing the technologies of journalism, starting with early printers such as William Caxton, inventors such as James Watt with his letter-copying machine and his improvement of the steam engine, Henry Fox Talbot with his contribution to photography, and the BBC with public television.

British institutions hold some of the world’s important communication artifacts: the Rosetta Stone, ancient hieroglyphs and papyrus, proto-newspapers and early magazines.  Two museums outside of London are devoted to the Titanic; its sinking was critical to the history of radio.  The National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory charts the role of sea power and the importance of accurate timekeeping.

Program Fee
Cost: $5225-$5525
*Each home institution may have supplementary fees in addition to the price listed.  Comprehensive Fee includes:  Transportation and course arrangements as indicated, hotel accommodations in twin and triple rooms, continental breakfast daily, two lunches and five dinners (subject to change).

Sophomore standing.

Required Readings

  • Temple, Mick (2008). The British Press (Berkshire, England: McGraw-Hill). Referred to as British Press.
  • Copeland, David A. (2006). The Idea of a Free Press (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press). Referred to as Free Press.
  • Kovarik, Bill (2011). Revolutions in Communications: Media History from Gutenberg to the Digital Age (New York: Continuum Press). Referred to as Revolutions.
  • Other readings in PDF format to be distributed through OneDrive and email.
  • A current paper London guidebook and map. Recommended: Benson’s MapGuides.


  • Attendance, participation, 20 percent *
  • Group guiding, 10 percent
  • Photo journal, 20 percent: Compile 10-20 images with extended captions, including footnotes, that explores one event in British history pivotal in the development or dissemination of a communication medium. All the photos in this journal must be shot by the student on visits to various sites around London.
  • Video documentary, 20 percent: A video of 3-5 minutes about one site or one historical artifact that the student found to be especially significant or interesting. At least one minute of the finished video should have been shot by the student during class visits; archival footage from the Internet, original photos or archival photos, and interviews of people at the historical site are all allowed with appropriate acknowledgements and permissions if required.
  • Final essay, 30 percent: An essay of 500-1,000 words, not including footnotes and bibliography, analyzing an aspect of British history relevant to journalism as practiced in the United States today.

* 5 percent will be deducted from the attendance score for each day missed. All assignments will be graded on writing mechanics, including spelling and grammar, as well as content.

Program Directors
Mark Neuzil, Ph.D., University of St. Thomas, (651) 962.5261, email: mrneuzil@stthomas.edu

Michael O’Donnell, Associate Professor, University of St. Thomas, (651) 962.5281; email address: mjodonnell@stthomas.edu

Description of Faculty Directors
Mark Neuzil is professor of communication and journalism at St. Thomas.  He is the author or co-author of eight books and a frequent writer and speaker on environmental issues.  He has taught three courses in London and conducted research on the English writer Izaak Walton and British soldier John Enys.  At St. Thomas, he teaches communication history, environmental communications and media ethics.

Michael O’Donnell is an associate professor and chair of the Communication and Journalism department at the University of St. Thomas.  He worked for 25 years as a reporter, writer, editor and page designer for newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.  Along with Buck Ryan of the University of Kentucky, he is the co-author of “The Editor’s Toolbox”, a textbook on editing.  At St. Thomas, O’Donnell teaches visual communication and design, including website design. 

Application Procedures & Deadline
· Select the How to Apply link to start your online application.
· All applications received by your home institutions priority deadline will be sent to the faculty immediately. Applications will be taken after that deadline for programs with space still remaining until the final application deadline of October 1, 2017.

Final Application Deadline: October 1, 2017

For more information on course content, contact Mark Neuzil
On application procedures or logistical information, contact your study abroad office.


How To Apply


Rules and Procedures 2017 (PDF)

Rules and Procedures

Each UMAIE member school has their own application process in place. The UMAIE application process is described in the attached PDF file, and the required documents are available in the How to Apply section.

Applications are accepted until October 1, 2016.
No application will be considered without ALL the required signed documents, copies and a deposit check. If you have any questions please contact your campus UMAIE Board Member.

Travel Packet

ePacket (Link)

Click the image at left to access the course Travel Packet. The ePacket contains important information about traveling abroad, including your itinerary, frequently asked questions, participant letter and culturegram.

Preliminary Itinerary will be posted by October 16.
Final Itinerary will be posted by December 7.


The Orientation process includes 3 components:
– an online self-study and quiz on the UMAIE student handbook.
– an in-person orientation conducted by your faculty director(s)
– an on-site orientation upon arrival.

You are REQUIRED to participate in and complete all 3 steps within the deadlines specified below. Failure to do so may result in your removal from the course.

Student Handbook and Online Quiz

2018 Student Manual (PDF)

We have put together this handbook to provide you with helpful information for planning and spending your time abroad. The handbook is also your primary study guide to pass your online quiz. There are excellent tips in this handbook, and it is organized in a way we hope will be user-friendly and straightforward.

Please carefully read the UMAIE student handbook and complete the quiz on the UMAIE student handbook by October 20, 2017.


quiz_thumbYou can access the online quiz through your online application by logging in to your school’s study abroad website. Complete the 2018 UMAIE Participant Quiz under Assessments on your online application portal.

For students at St. Ambrose University, see your study abroad adviser for a paper copy of the quiz.

 Orientation Session

The orientation session for this course will be conducted in-person. You will be notified of the time and location of your orientation.
If you have not received notice, contact your Study Abroad Program Director.


Participants are required to bring their Student ID card with them on the course to qualify for reduced student entrances at many sites. Without your ID, you could be responsible to pay any difference in entrance fees.