Job Boom for MJ and BJ Grads

Within weeks of graduating, dozens of JMSC graduates have found full time jobs in local and global media organisations.

Members of both the Bachelor of Journalism and Master of Journalism programmes of 2010 have been employed by companies such as Apple Daily, AFPAssociated Press, Bloomberg, CCTV, CNN, iCable TV, Ming Pao, RTHK, SCMP, Thomson Reuters, VOA and many more.

The alumni have found jobs that cover the whole spectrum of media platforms, from traditional print and newswires to TV, radio and multimedia. During the 2009-2010 academic year alone, the JMSC placed students in 114 internships or jobs.

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The JMSC’s emphasis on new media, with core courses in online journalism, has helped students gain some fantastic jobs working in news online and social media. Notable examples are Jonathan Stray (MJ 2010), who has become the Interactive Newsroom Technology Manager at the Associated Press (AP) in New York, and Yolanda Ma (MJ 2010), who has become the Social Media Editor of the South China Morning Post (SCMP) in Hong Kong.

Ma’s new role is to help the newspaper to develop social media strategies and other web-related experimental projects.

“My winter internship at the Asian edition of the International Herald Tribune with its then editor, Len Apcar, gave me great insight about the development of web technologies and digital media,” said Ma. “It also helped me to confirm that it is the area that I am most passionate about.”

One of the great strengths of the JMSC programme is its success in placing students within media organisations for internships. At least 50 media organisations took interns from the JMSC student body last year, including international and local media outlets in Hong Kong, mainland China and abroad, in print, broadcast, and online. If students are keen and proactive, internships can lead to employment.

A key area of teaching at the JMSC is business journalism, an area in rapid development ever since the global financial crisis placed new emphasis on finance and the implications of monetary decisions on the public. Financial journalism services are quick to employ JMSC students who have had the option to take up to six business journalism courses, so are extremely well equipped to write about finance.

The recent and rapid development of financial industries in Asia has seen JMSC graduates finding jobs in financial journalism in major media hubs in the region. For example, Monami Yui (MJ 2010) is now working as a reporter for the financial news provider, Bloomberg, in Tokyo.

Yui joins a growing JMSC family at Bloomberg worldwide, with Greg Ahlstrand (MJ 2009) who is the Bureau Chief in Jakarta, Stuart Biggs (MJ 2004) in Tokyo, Marco Lui (MJ 2010) and Mark Lee (MJ 2005) in Hong Kong, William Bi (MJ 2006) in Beijing, Cornelius Rahn (MJ 2009) in Berlin and Elaine Chan (MJ 2007) in New York .

Thomson Reuters, another major global financial news service, recently hired Carmen Ng (BJ 2010) and Andy Ho (BJ 2009).

Television has attracted several graduates. The JMSC offers a wide range of television production courses so that students can hone their skills while at the JMSC, among them Television News Writing, Video News Production and Documentary Film Making, all of which emphasise how to write, film, report and edit for the medium.

Zela Chin (MJ 2010) has got a job at the Hong Kong TV channel, TVB, as a news producer and reporter. She researches, writes, produces and voices ten minute shows for Money Magazine, a business programme that airs three times a week on TVB Pearl.

“I expanded my journalism skills while at the JMSC,” said Chin. “I honed my skills in online, print, radio, and shot and edited my own video stories. Through the  JMSC Director of Broadcast, Jim Laurie’s encouragement, I also gained on-the-ground reporting experiences in Southeast Asia. And I’m sure that it got TVB’s attention that I negotiated my contract while on a university-funded reporting trip in Vietnam!”

Chin was the Bureau Chief of the JMSC’s ABC News on Campus team last year. The team pitched ideas to ABC in New York and then reported for the station from Asia. This Spring, Chin went on a trip to Vietnam to report for ABC; this experience helped her to find employment in the TV industry.

CNN International recently employed Sarah Chakales (MJ 2009) in Hong Kong. She joins previous MJ graduates to work there; Phil O’Sullivan (MJ 2003) is Executive Producer, Asia at CNNi and Ann Chu (MJ 2004) is Director, CNN Broadcast Sales & Affiliate Relations.

Traditional print is another area that has attracted recent graduates. By the time students leave the JMSC they have completed core courses in Reporting and Writing and have had the choice of several further elective courses in writing such as Advanced Writing and Reporting in Chinese or English, and Chinese Non-Fiction Writing. They have also had the opportunity to study specialist areas of journalism such as Reporting the Environment, Reporting the Big Issues in Science, Reporting Health and Medicine as well as numerous business courses.

Esther Lui Wai Ying (BJ 2010) was recently hired as the Assistant Editor of the Hong Kong edition of Esquire Magazine, the glossy magazine for men. She started writing features for the magazine in September. Barry Chung (MJ 2010) has been employed as a reporter for The Young Post, the section of the SCMP that is aimed at young people.

Rebecca Valli (MJ 2010) is one of the graduates to find work in radio. She studied Radio News Production at the JMSC last semester. Recently, Valli gained employment as a News Assistant for Voice of America in Beijing. “Lots of skills learned at the JMSC have come in very useful,” said Valli. “In particular the technical skills – how to record an audio-video interview, how to use FCP, and Adobe Audition.”

Valli interned at VOA Beijing this summer and is now on a working contract.

Another success in the field of radio is Christy Tsoi (BA Major English Studies & Minor Journalism 2010), who is now working as a creative director for a joint project between Hong Kong’s public broadcaster, RTHK, and the HKU Graduate Association. Tsoi also studied the BJ Radio News Production elective.

“Basically I’m involved in everything – from planning and content research to recording and mixing,” said Tsoi. “I even have composed an opening signature tune to the programme – a rap song about Chinese culture.”

Many graduates have chosen to go freelance. Richard Macauley (MJ 2010) is writing articles for the SCMP and China Daily. Macauley made his contacts at the SCMP during an internship this summer. Andrea Fenn (MJ 2010) is also writing for China Daily.

JMSC graduates continue to work all round the globe – in Asia, Europe and the Americas. One of the more adventurous alumni, Bethany Matta (MJ 2010), is about to head out to Afghanistan to work freelance as a reporter. She is making preparations for her trip at the moment and building up contacts in the Afghan capital to prepare herself for the year to come. Her plan is to write and also do radio and video pieces for a variety of outlets.

“The professors at the JMSC were extremely generous with their time, knowledge and passing on of contacts,” said Matta. “They were also very supportive about my decision to report from Kabul. Basically whatever I wanted to learn I could at the JMSC, it was just up to me to decide what and how much.”