Earlier last year at Shanghai’s seventh annual ‘Love and Marriage Expo’, thousands of single people under the age of 40 gathered, looking for their potential other halves.

Surrounded by marriage-seeking young people, their parents and agencies, Shanghai local single boy Huang Zheping (Ping) satisfied their curiosity.

‘Hmm … nice,’ one said, ‘What year were you born?’

‘1992,’ he replied. The voices went silent—surrounding mothers left in displeasure and continued their ‘hunting’.

It, however, did not disappoint Ping. As one of Quartz’s reporters based in Hong Kong, he had come to cover a story about issues facing single people in China.

After graduation from the Master of Journalism (MJ) programme, Ping joined Quartz as a reporter, where he had also completed an internship during the winter break in his studies at the JMSC.

A digital news outlet mainly producing business news, Quartz was launched by Atlantic Media—publisher of The Atlantic—in 2012. Quartz’s Asia team consists of five reporters, among whom Ping is the only Chinese national.

While most Quartz reporters are native speakers, Ping saw English as the biggest challenge: ‘My stories were really horrible at the beginning. I soon noticed that editors spent a lot of time editing and improving my work.’

Networking also challenged this green handed journalist: ‘Initially I had no sources. I couldn’t reach out to an equity analyst to write a stock story, for example. I believe any fresh journalist suffers from that.’

During his internship, Ping began as an assistant to reporters, then started to write short pieces of news himself. Weeks later, he had made rapid progress and started writing full English news stories independently.

‘Language is a tool, practice makes perfect. Reporting and writing skills are undoubtedly vital. With those experienced journalists’ help, I became more aware of the problems with my writing, then followed progress.’

Ping kept on working at Quartz as a part-time intern during the second semester of the MJ course. After graduation, he became a Quartz reporter.

Ping believes that the emphasis the JMSC places on practising practical skills and techniques, such as video production, hard news writing and financial news reporting, is extremely important: ‘There aren’t any skills that don’t require practice,’ he said, ‘Without practice, all skills make no sense.’

In addition to the core skill classes, Ping also took all three business and finance elective courses that the MJ programme offers, equipping himself with in-depth knowledge for covering business news. An assignment covering and analysing stock markets, for example, turned out to be important practice for Ping’s later stock stories at Quartz.

Ping’s portfolio at Quartz can be found here.

6 January 2016

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