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This year’s incoming JMSC Master of Journalism class covers the most extensive geographical spread yet.
Sixty-six students have enrolled from a score of countries and territories on every continent except South America and Antarctica: Afghanistan, America, Australia, Canada, China and Ghana; Hong Kong, Ireland, India, Japan, South Korea and Mongolia; Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Singapore, Sweden, the UK and Zambia.
The students come from a wide range of backgrounds: from a diplomat to a trader; from fresh graduates to experienced journalists.
Martin Murphy has just retired from the American diplomatic service after a career spanning 25 years and six countries. He holds a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s in international management, a master’s in Buddhist studies and a graduate fellowship at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
“I’ve spent my entire career as a diplomat writing, so that’s what I know and what I do best,” said Murphy.
“In my retirement, I want to continue telling stories, exposing lies and revealing truths. I’m particularly interested in environmental journalism and documentary film making. I think the JMSC is strong in both those areas and the best place to study journalism in Hong Kong.”
Feng Jing, from Mainland China, studied at Shanghai Normal University Tianhua College.
In January 2008, she took an exam for Broadcasting and Hosting in English and ranked among the top seven candidates across the entire country. Since 2011, she has been working as a programme producer at the International Channel Shanghai.
“All this interaction with the media, especially with TV programme production, convinced me that journalism is the career I want to pursue,” said Feng.
“I wanted to study at the JMSC because I would like to have a journalism education that’s both international and yet also situated in Asia. I think the JMSC is the ideal place in this respect,” she said.
“I also really like the wide student pool that the JMSC presents; I think it’s one of its major strengths. I’m really excited about learning from my fellow classmates as well as local citizens in Hong Kong.”
Abdul Matin Sarfraz is an Afghan journalist who has been working for various media outlets in the north-eastern provinces of his country, including the Pajhwok Afghan News Agency, the New York Times, Reuters and Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
“Afghanistan needs more professionals working in the field, so I want to be able to come back with what I learn at the JMSC and help Afghans,” Sarfaz said.
Ann Li, from Hong Kong, graduated from Peking University with a major in finance.
She worked as a finance officer for two years, then switched to journalism, working first for the the Hong Kong Economic Times and now as the Hong Kong correspondent for The Economic Observer, a mainland weekly.
“I don’t have any journalism-related academic experience and HKU has the best reputation in Hong Kong,” said Li. “I hope to enhance my English writing skill and enjoy campus life.”
Tony Yoo, an Australian, worked at an investment firm in Sydney. He left his job in January in order to move into journalism.
“Although my interest is in print, I am thrilled to learn about other sectors of the media such as television and radio,” said Yoo. “I anticipate I will have a much wider perspective by the end of the degree.”
Fan Di, a mainland Chinese broadcast journalist, is also interested in gaining the broad perspective that the JMSC offers.
Fan has worked in print (China Daily and McClatchy Newspapers) and TV (Al Jazeera, and Canada’s Global Television).
“I am particularly eager to learn new media and documentary film making as I believe it is important for future journalists to be able to grasp multiple modes of reporting,” said Fan. “In addition, I expect the the JMSC’s special focus on Greater China and the Asia Pacific region to broaden my horizons and help me to focus on news outside the Chinese mainland.”
She acknowledges the difficulties presented by China’s government control of the media, but says they are surmountable.
“Unlike the one-dimensional propaganda press of earlier times, it is possible to create cutting-edge journalism on the mainland today,” she said. “I’m eager to cover news both in and outside China as a reporter who understands this country and who can also apply the stringent methods of international journalism.”