Heathrow is a BIG airport. To get to our bags we had to walk a quarter-mile, take a tram two stops, and walk another quarter-mile it seemed. There was a huge line for Passport
Control, but they processed us pretty quickly.
We were met by Geoff Harrison from Collette who will be our escort for the tour. He gave us our envelopes and we were off to the bus.
We had to drive through the heart of London to get to our hotel, which made our trip quite interesting. We came through Kensington via Knightsbridge Road so we saw quite a few parks, Harrod’s, and Trafalgar Square.
Parking at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel was interesting. We first parked on one side, then after some backing and filling parked on a second side. But that was no good so we did some more backing and filling and finally settled on the third side. It felt like we were a dog trying to find a comfortable spot to spend the night.
In the evening we gathered for a fine buffet featuring baked cod and stewed lamb. The featured speaker for the evening was Ari Shapiro, an award-winning NPR International Correspondent based in London. Prior to his London assignment he reported from the NPR Washington Desk during Barack Obama’s first and second terms. He spoke about how lucky we were to have an organization like PBS, with its many affiliates around the country, and perhaps around the world, that were ready to provide local coverage for a national story. The big news networks often have to send someone to the site, and of course do not have the local knowledge needed to paint the full picture.
In response to a question, he quoted Ira Glass who told him it was very important to make sure there was some part of your story, no matter how small, that you think is really, really good. In response to another question he mentioned how on any given evening, there would be 12 or so reporters pitching stories, only six of which would get on the air that evening.
We also got to meet Rich Preston, his Producer.He is from Scotland, and it was apparent from his first sentence!