When Reality TV Interferes with Reality

Article excerpt

IN FLORENCE, ITALY--WHERE about 7,000 Americans enroll in study-abroad programs each year--there's a new set of "ugly" Americans to deal with. "Jersey Shore," the MTV series controversial for the way many critics say it plays into negative American and Italian stereotypes, is currently shooting its fourth season in the Renaissance city, and one Italian institution's reaction could serve as a model for what to do when reality television takes over.


The Istituto Lorenzo de' Medici (LdM), a college for international students in the heart of Florence, is opting for the route of total avoidance. When officials learned in early May that the cast members from the show would be filmed in an apartment building where some of its students live, they immediately sent an email warning students not to fraternize with the cast or crew. It stated where the taping would take place and said, "We advise you to NOT sign any paper, let anyone in, and keep us informed."

News websites exploded with the news in early May, wrongly stating that the cast members were being filmed in LdM dorms. Carla Guarducci, managing director of LdM, says students were living in a rented apartment on another floor of the same building where the cast is living and "due to potential noise and security concerns, this apartment has been deemed unsuitable as a good study environment. …


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