CNN bureau chief and Master of Journalism alumni gives career development advice to students

diego talk 3Diego Laje, bureau chief for CNN en Español in Buenos Aires, gave students his top tips for developing a career in journalism when he visited the HKU campus recently.

Diego met with students and talked about how he developed his career after graduating from the MJ programme in 2009. He spoke about seizing opportunities to make inroads during big stories, and being resilient if things don’t always work out at first. ‘Failure is an opportunity that people give you to do things again,’ he said.

Diego talked students through what he does on a typical working day, from assigning stories first thing in the morning, to administrative tasks such as managing budgets, and still keeping his hand in by getting out and investigating stories himself in the afternoons.

Talking about the top skills and values needed to be a successful journalist, Diego said: ‘Integrity—when you make a mistake, you pick up the phone, call your editor and say “I’m sorry, how can we fix it?” … Reliability—a talented person who doesn’t make a deadline is an entertainer, not a journalist … Curiosity—for me, everything is interesting in Asia … being in Asia already inspires me to cover more stories and do more things.’

diego talk 2Students asked Diego questions on a range of topics, including his experience working for different news organisations, tips when applying for internships, and the challenges of presenting in English for non-native speakers.

On the best way to make a name for yourself as a journalist, Diego said: ‘The best way to have editors remember you, is by the creativity that you bring to that newsroom … by new, fresh angles. All stories have been told, but the difference is the angle … so you have to be creative, and know very well how that story was told before, because you don’t want to tell it the same way.’

During his journalism career, Diego has covered major breaking stories for both English and Spanish CNN networks and affiliates, including the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China, the 2011 tsunami and ensuing Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, and Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Diego spoke about the challenges and demands of covering these events, along with more recent news stories such as Pope Francis’ visit to South America earlier this year, and the Occupy protests in Hong Kong last year.

To visit Diego’s Facebook page, click here.

The JMSC is now welcoming applications to the Master of Journalism (MJ) programme for the 2016–2017 academic year. Click here to find out more and apply.

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