By Mia Wallace
June 15, 2016
During the school year back in East Lansing, you can typically find me curled up in my room, under a bundle of blankets, eating hot Cheetos and watching Netflix. This year, I watched and finished an impressive and simultaneously unsettling amount TV shows (the number is somewhere around 14). House of Cards, Bojack Horseman, The Wire, True Blood, X-Files (again…), How to Get Away with Murder — just to name a few. But I never branched out from popular American television series until I decided on a whim to start watching the
BBC program, Luther. Despite being absolutely in love with Idris Elba after watching The Wire (because just look at the picture on the right), I fell in love with the diversity, distinctiveness, and incredible production of BBC’s show Luther. I never watched a show so well written, acted, filmed and yet still so unknown to many of my friends and family. Until I watched Luther, I had the assumption that BBC only produced television shows about middle-aged British women living in the early 20th century. Watching Luther began to break apart my old perceptions of BBC and their programs but having the opportunity to go and tour the BBC Scotland headquarters in Gaslow, Scotland today really redefined every aspect of how I think of this broadcasting company.
BBC goes far beyond just being a broadcasting company. Their mission statement is to inform, educate and entertain. They are one of few broadcasting companies in the United Kingdom and the world that supplies and guarantees independent and impartial news. They put a huge focus and emphasis on unbiased reporting. BBC is not working for any section of the government, leaning one way or the next, trying to make the people think a certain way they want them to think. BBC is for the people, by the people. They are promoting democracy in one of the best ways media, entertainment and news can — through thoughtful, truthful, unbiased, and impartial reporting. I really respect that aspect of their broadcasting and that is one reason why I think they are a great company.
BBC’s impact on the community is really admirable. They have raised over £800 million for their charity Children in Need since it’s been founded. They put a real emphasis on helping children in the United Kingdom, whether that be with raising awareness of mental illness or helping children cope with traumatic life events. It’s nice to see a company take such interest and consideration in helping out disadvantaged youth in their country to ensure that they have a better future.
We were told how BBC strives for diversity and thinking outside of the norm. They want to appeal to the niche communities in the larger community. They have select programming and radio stations to do just that. They have programs that will focus on farming agriculture or space and quantum physics. They realize that not everyone will want to watch or learn about these things, but they respect the fact that there is a group of people in their country that do and they want to appeal to those people, not the masses. Their radio stations won’t play mainstream music that you would hear on all the other radio stations. They want to distract from that and diverge from the mainstream norm. They want to promote and encourage people to learn about other cultures and communities, celebrate those communities and have programming that reflects those communities. BBC is also putting a huge importance on diversifying their workforce. Our speaker told us how BBC has set plans and goals for their future, like for example by 2019 our speaker told us how BBC is working towards having a workforce looks less like him (middle age, white, male) and more like the world around us (a prism of different races, ages, genders, religions, and ideologies).
Being able to tour BBC Scotland and listening to their history, goals, and ideologies, made me realize what an incredible company it is. I knew right after I watched that first episode of Luther, I underestimated BBC as a force to create amazing television content. But after this tour today I now realize I have underestimated BBC as a force for change in the community and world. They have such a positive goal for the future of their company, broadcasting, and community. They promote diversity, distinctiveness and partnership in bringing together those who are different. I now appreciate BBC as a great broadcasting company as well as a great company in promoting change and doing good in the world. I can only hope that in my future I can work for a company with a goal and passion as pure-hearted as BBC’s.