Cornelius Rahn, 27, is the perfect example of how a young journalist can turn an internship into a full time job.
After graduating with a distinction from the JMSC Master of Journalism programme this summer, he took a three month internship as a reporter at the financial and business news provider, Bloomberg, in Frankfurt, Germany.
He cut his teeth covering major events such as the purchase of Porsche by Volkswagen. “They sent me out immediately to cover big stories. I like the challenge because I have been put in situations where I have to deal with problems and find solutions to them. I have learnt on the job, not by sitting behind someone and looking over their shoulder.”
At the end of August, Bloomberg offered him a full time post.
Rahn puts his quick employment down to improving global financial prospects, but it is just as likely that it was his tenacity that landed him the job.
While still an intern, he secured an exclusive story for Bloomberg about the car parts company, Continental AG. Through speaking to people off the record, and, in his words, “phoning people up and pestering them,” he learnt of a joint venture the company was involved in, scooping rival news organisations.
Needless to say, his boss was impressed.
Rahn’s average day sees him in the office at 07:30 reviewing the press to make sure that Bloomberg hasn’t missed anything and to fill in any gaps.
Then he checks his diary to see whether he has a press conference at the European Central Bank or another financial institution.
If he has time between stories, he works on one of his own ideas for Bloomberg, usually writing about market trends. His day ends at about 6.30.
One of the things he prefers about working to being a student is that his free time is his own.
“Whilst my job’s very stressful and fast paced, it’s nice to have my head free at the weekends. When you’re a student you’ve always got a black cloud hanging over you thinking that you should be doing some more studying.”
His job takes him all over Europe, and, he hopes soon, the United States.
He is very fond of Hong Kong and the JMSC. “It’s here at HKU that I learnt all the basics: sorting facts into a logical structure, writing clean copy, and most importantly not being afraid of approaching sources.”
He said this last point was perhaps the most important aspect of journalism.
“When I started I was shy and extremely polite, but now I know there’s no harm in trying to interview people, most of the time they’ll talk to you. Also, I used to assume that people knew everything about a subject when, often, they don’t. My advice to new graduates would be approach people, make contacts, network. You have access to people, use it and form a working relationship with them.”
He plans to stay with Bloomberg for a while yet, but long term he would like to make documentaries, using film-making techniques he learnt here at the JMSC. In fact, he hopes to return to Hong Kong one day to make his films.
Until then, he’ll be on the beat with Bloomberg, because, as he put it, “There’s so much information out there worth reporting.”
— Angharad Law