JMSC students provided excellent coverage of the recent International Media Conference held at HKU.
More than a dozen students, both MJs and BJs, volunteered to report on the conference using different media tailored to suit each event.
Diane Stormont, senior teaching consultant at the JMSC and a former Reuters Bureau Chief in Hong Kong, ran the show as Editor-in-Chief.
“I went through the agenda and worked out which medium would be best to cover each event. Panel discussions lent themselves to audio and video, whereas straight speeches were best covered using text. We also had photographers, radio reporters and people tweeting.”
Kevin Lau, online media producer at the JMSC, was in charge of video. His was a tough job as he was working with students live-feeding keynote speeches to ustream, recording and editing news packages and putting together wraps at the end of each day – all while keeping his cool.
“Luckily Kevin’s background in web news video in Los Angeles stood him in good stead,” says Stormont. “He also coped with a glitch in the live streaming on the first day; he found an error in the hard disk and fixed the problem within ten minutes allowing us to get back on air.”
Stormont was trialling a new technology called coveritlive.com. JMSC MJ student and new media researcher, Jonathan Stray was one of the key people providing content for the site which allowed live blogging of sessions and also the addition of text, comments, photos, video and tweets, all in real time.
“We were particularly pleased to see so many participants tweeting and joining the stream. In fact, there were so many that the conference copy editor, Jonathan Sharp (also a former Reuters Bureau Chief) spent a good deal of his time editing and re-tweeting them under the JMSC Twitter account,” says Stormont.
Jonathan Stray enjoyed live-blogging for coveritlive.com.
“You type a message. It can be as long as you like. Then you hit send and up it goes! When people gave me a handout for a session, I took a photo with my phone and put it straight up.”
Stray’s favourite sessions were on sustainable models for media (“because I am a new media geek”) and the Chinese editors’ round table (“it was fascinating to hear people who’ve actually worked within media for decades talking about the changes going on around them.”)
“I learned a lot trying to get the news out in real time,” he says. “For the written stories it was like working for a news wire where you have to write as fast as possible. But it was a different experience trying to transcribe the key points of a talk seconds after they’ve been spoken.”
Another trial was taking place in the media lab: blogtalkradio.com. Angharad Law, visiting lecturer at the JMSC and long time radio producer and reporter for the BBC, was covering the afternoon sessions on a nightly live radio show.
Her team consisted of MJ students Rebecca Valli, Richard Macauley, Joy Zhou and BJ students Oscar Lin and Kirti Nandwani.
The team gathered audio and cut it under huge time pressure to hit the 7pm deadline.
Despite some initial teething problems the two shows went on air on time and contained reports and live two-ways done by the students.
“The international media conference offered a great opportunity for us to talk with respectable experts in the media world,” says MJ student Joy Zhou. “And the conference coverage was a valuable experience due to the tension and excitement of meeting the deadline.”
“I was particularly pleased with the Tuesday programme which Rebecca Valli presented extremely professionally,” says Law.
“The quality of the audio impressed me beyond belief — from Richard Macauley’s and Oscar Lin’s two-ways to Kirti Nandwani and Joy Zhou’s fantastic reporting. I hope to run more radio shows like this one in future.”[audio:http://jmsc.hku.hk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/Tuesday-Conference-Radio-show.mp3|titles=Tuesday Conference Radio show]
The JMSC Conference Coverage team pulled together effectively with students and staff working together to upload content in the shortest time possible.
Student photographers Maggie Chen and Marco Lui captured stills of the conference and MJ alumni Fu Lei uploaded video on Chinese sites such as Youku.
JMSC teaching assistant and internship advisor, Doug Meigs, wrote text wraps for the website while MJ Yolanda Ma was in charge of tweeting.
“I was most proud of the teamwork, the amount of effort and the sheer professionalism of the students,” says Stormont.