The JMSC is joining forces with ABC News in New York to develop an on-campus bureau and an Asia-wide roving reporter scheme.

abchorizonal The American Broadcasting Company cooperates with six US universities to provide online and on-air news. HKU’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre is the first international branch of the venture. Read here what ABC has to say about the scheme, and to meet the students involved.

Director of the Broadcasting Programme at the JMSC, Jim Laurie, who worked at ABC for more than 20 years, has compiled a team of 13 students to take part.

MJ student Zela Chin and BJ student Liyi Chen will coordinate the project here in Hong Kong and are in charge of pitching ideas to the commissioning editor in New York, Christina Caron.

“I think it’s interesting that we get to work for a US audience that’s so far away from us and it’s a great pleasure to be able to present my Asia to them, ” says Chen.

“On my part I look forward to gaining first-hand working experience with a major broadcast station in a country with a much bigger audience than Hong Kong, with different tastes and different cultural contexts. This is really good training for us to learn how to tailor communication to suit different needs; so I think it’ll be quite a challenge, and quite a fun experience.”

The team is pitching stories about Hong Kong and also from other Asian datelines.

The first idea is about white collar workers in Hong Kong who are bankers by day and boxers by night. Liyi was pleased with the team’s first pitch.

“Lorea Solabarrieta’s White Collar Fight Night story went quite well. ABC accepted it pretty much immediately, so it was really encouraging. I think we have a lot of interesting stories to tell from Asia, and we’ve had a good start, so I’m hopeful!”

The year-long project is funded by Hong Kong University and aims to get six to eight video stories to air, and many articles online. If students are successful with their foreign pitches, veteran video journalist, Rob McBride, will help them to realise their foreign correspondent ambitions.

Laurie roamed the world as a correspondent for ABC for 21 years and says he covered his most fun stories on the job.

” This will give students an experience of real life journalism, where you’re forced to pitch stories for a different audience. North Americans have a very different view of Asia to us. If you ever get into this business, you’ll be doing the same thing – it’s all about doing stories that appeal to the target audience.”

Angharad Law