Student Reporters Head to Japan to Cover Tsunami Anniversary

Seven JMSC undergraduates will head to Japan next month to cover the first anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami for international news organisations.

Left to right: James Chan Kin Sing, Manon Pierre, Su Xin Qi, Haruka Nuga, Saga McFarland and Sarah Spaeth. Photo: AJ Libunao

The March 7-12 trip has been organised by JMSC Teaching Consultant, Masato Kajimoto, to provide bachelor of journalism students with the opportunity to cover a major international story to professional standards.

Their content will be supplied to, among others, CNN and Agence France-Presse, and offered to the Hong Kong media.

“I think the trip is a great opportunity for the students to gain experience of international news reporting, learn what it takes to produce quality journalism and understand how foreign correspondents work,” Kajimito said.

The team consists of James Chan Kin Sing, Isak Ladegaard, Saga McFarland, Haruka Nuga, Manon Pierre, Su Xin Qi and Sarah Spaeth.

The fledgling reporters will discover first hand the difficulties of grappling with sometimes ill-defined news stories and build their capacity for critical thought as they turn curriculum work into actual journalism.

They are required to produce a video documentary of their experience.

Kajimoto said the team was chosen from students who came up with the best story proposals suitable for specific clients: an international news wire, a video broadcaster and for a newspaper or magazine.

Successful pitches included finding out how donations from Hong Kong helped survivors; a profile of a Chinese cartoonist who decided to go and live in Japan after the quake; a look at how tourist destinations such as Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market were affected by the radiation leak at the Fukushima nuclear facility and how non-Japanese-speaking students in international schools in metropolitan Tokyo are preparing for future earthquakes.

The trip will be funded by a University of Hong Kong Teaching Development Grant.