Courtney Manning is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Convergence Journalism major at the University of Missouri-Columbia, she is studying abroad in London this semester.
In this week's post, Courtney talks about her experience so far at her internship at the Index on Censorship.
Today was my third day of my internship at Index on Censorship, and I absolutely love it. Index is a nonprofit organization that works to advocate for freedom of speech for artists, writers and journalists. Although I’m a convergence major with an emphasis in television reporting, I’m extremely excited about this editorial internship. I’m really interested in politics and human rights and I want my future career to deal with helping humanity and the earth in some way.
My office consists of only 12 people and it seems like everyone is very close with one another. My site supervisor, Sean, is from New York, which is actually quite nice as it can be a bit intimidating to be the only outsider in a new and unfamiliar setting. The work culture in England is definitely very different from that of America. For starters, the British workplace atmosphere is quite a bit more relaxed than it seems to be in America. People are usually pretty nice to each other, and everyone seems to get along and enjoy going to get lunch together and drinks after work together. I also think that it’s nice that British people refer to their coworkers as “colleagues.” For some reason, that just sounds much warmer to me. My workplace is extremely relaxed; everyone wears jeans and sweaters and makes each other tea. One of my colleagues even made us blueberry cheesecake two days ago and we all took a break from our work to enjoy it and socialize with each other. It’s kind of funny, because since I work for a nonprofit with a very limited budget, my computer is quite possibly from the 1990’s and shuts down randomly all the time. It sounds like a nuisance, but it honestly adds to the charm of the place.
Everyone is very down-to-earth and polite to each other, which is quite refreshing, as I feel like sometimes Americans get too caught up in their work and are rude to each other and angry to be at work in general. British people (or at least the ones I work with) seem to enjoy their work much more for some reason. Although I’ve only been interning at Index for a week, I’ve really had a wonderful time. I really get to put my convergence skills that I learned this past semester to work every day in my office. I loved making infographics in my convergence class, and I was shown some of Index’s old “Mapping Media Freedom” pamphlets, which are basically little books describing all the ways that free speech has been defiled within the past year. These pamphlets are created with some of the most beautiful and well-done infographics I have ever seen. Every week, I get to do research and write a piece about freedom of speech for Index, and lately I have been working on helping one of my colleagues fully update the interactive map with the locations of different events threatening freedom of speech across Europe for Mapping Media Freedom for 2016.
Today we also went to a protest outside of the Saudi Arabian Embassy of London to protest the jailing and flogging of blogger Raif Badawi. Today is his 33rd birthday. It was really cool to be able to get out of the office and socialize with my colleagues while feeling like we were actually working towards making some sort of difference in the world. I can’t wait to see what other kinds of amazing opportunities my internship brings!
Courtney's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.