The JMSC – between India and the West

“Hong Kong is perfectly placed between India and the West. On the one hand it’s close to South Asia and on the other it’s intricately linked with the West. Plus, it’s the financial hub of Asia.”

Asad Ali

"The skill sets I have picked up from this course will help not just in journalism, but also in advertising and other media-related careers. That is one of the nice things about studying here."

Asad Ali, 22, from Kolkata, is starting the second semester of his Master of Journalism course at the JMSC.

He chose to study in Hong Kong not only because of its advantageous geography but also because he was impressed with the infrastructure and the faculty.

Ali graduated recently from Calcutta University where he majored in English literature. He cites T.S.Elliot and Gabriel Garcia Marquez as his inspirations, both masters of the written word.

“I wanted to take up a career in media and journalism seemed to be the best option. I visited HKU in December 2008 and was impressed. It’s much more international than I was expecting, the international exposure amongst both the professors and my fellow students is inspiring — they come from America, China, Sweden, the UK, Hong Kong and many other places round the world. I wouldn’t have got that in India.”

One of the things that drew Ali to the JMSC was the fact that all of the staff have had long careers as journalists themselves.

“Each one has worked in the industry. It’s both effective and necessary to know that staff have been on the job, in fact most are still working journalists.”

Asad was particularly impressed with Len Apcar‘s course, Digital Media and Journalism. Based on reality, the course taught students not just journalism but the business behind journalism. They discussed the decline of print journalism from many perspectives but also looked at the rise of web journalism. Apcar also invited guest speakers to share their views and experience with the class.

One of Ali’s favourite stories was the contrasting lifestyles of Hong Kong island residents with Lamma Island residents for Diane Stormont‘s Online Journalism course. For this class he put together a multimedia package and learnt how to design webpages — skills that will prove useful in future.

Another new skill Ali picked up was writing news scripts from Jim Laurie‘s TV News Writing course.

“I’d never written TV news scripts before; it was interesting to learn how to do it and to make news packages. It’s completely different from writing for print.”

He even found a taste of home when covering a story on the prevalence of yoga in Hong Kong for his Reporting and Writing class.

“It was nice to meet yoga teachers who knew Sanskrit chants!”

Ali hopes to work in print at a major Indian news organisation when he graduates. He says that print is still huge in India and Asia so he’s confident he’ll find work. However, he feels that the JMSC has a holistic and rounded approach that has also prepared him for other eventualities.

“The skill sets I have picked up from this course will help not just in journalism, but also in advertising and other media-related careers. That is one of the nice things about studying here.”

Angharad Law