VoxAsia: HKU’s Hottest News Site

VoxAsia is Hong Kong University’s hottest news site.

It is the brainchild of JMSC Senior Teaching Consultant Diane Stormont and is operated by MJs in the advanced online class JMSC6083.

As a former Bureau Chief for Reuters in Hong Kong, Stormont wanted to give “students a taste of real newsroom experience, particularly the wire service experience in reporting set events.”

The site was set up in January 2010 for students who had completed the basic online skills course JMSC 6091. The idea is that they use the skills they learnt last semester in a real life situations.

So far students have covered major events such as George Soros’ visit to HKU in February and the annual Hong Kong budget.

Monday editorial meeting

Monday editorial meeting

“They get together in a team and run VoxAsia like a newswire service like Reuters, AP, AFP or Bloomberg,” Stormont said.

“It gives them the chance to experiment with the technology they learned in the introductory course last semester.”

It operates exactly as a newswire service does. The team gets together each Monday at lunchtime to set the agenda for the week, they discuss stories, share ideas and contacts and then get going.

VoxAsia reporters have found that directing interviewees to the website has gained them access to people who might normally be reluctant to do an interview for a student. MJ Rebecca Valli says that there’s a distinct advantage in having an end product to show people, and that her interviewees have been impressed by VoxAsia’s professional look and content.

“It’s also great to get their reactions afterwards when they see the reports, photos, video or audio up online.”

The multimedia operation also covers enterprise reporting, for example a fun piece on Chinese New Year clashing with Valentine’s Day called The Tiger Versus Cupid. Plus reports on major trends such as the XLR rail link protests and the post-80s generation. There are also book reviews, technology reviews and business reports.

Rebecca Valli hopes the site will go from strength to strength.

“I hope it will be developed in future as it is a really valuable addition to the JMSC’s exisiting web projects.”

Diane Stormont has high hopes for VoxAsia’s development. Next on her list is marketing, followed by expansion and using social media. She gives full credit where it’s due.

“I am very impressed by the students’ dedication and professionalism.”