As the summer break starts JMSC Bachelor of Journalism and Master of Journalism students are heading off on varied and exciting internships.
Students have secured placements in print, broadcast and online with the help of staff who are dedicated to placing them.
“The JMSC staff is a great resource for motivated students. We’re committed to helping students find internships, and some media companies even come to us looking for interns,” said Doug Meigs, JMSC teaching assistant and internship advisor.
Meigs had spent the last few months trying to match students with work experience opportunities that will benefit both them and the employer.
HKU is keen to emphasise experiential learning, literally ‘learning through doing’, which is what internships are all about.
BJ student, Temily Jaya Gopan, is grateful for the assistance provided by the JMSC. She starts an eight week internship in July at CNN Hong Kong.
“Professor [Jim] Laurie and Doug Meigs helped me and were both really encouraging! I really appreciate how they look at the best in us students.”
Jaya Gopan applied to CNN at the last minute because she thought mistakenly that they would prefer to take postgraduates. However, it paid off — the broadcaster clearly liked her profile.
“Professor Laurie e-mailed me saying that CNN may want to take an intern for six weeks but that I had to send him my CV with a cover letter immediately. I quickly got the documents together in record time. I got called for an interview a week later and did a written exam. I didn’t hear back for over two weeks and I really wasn’t hoping for anything. But I got lucky!”
She’s hoping to work on CNN’s chat show Talk Asia.
“I’m really excited that my first exposure to broadcast media will be with one of the best news stations in the world. Right now, I think broadcast journalism is something I want to pursue, but I don’t know how much of this is influenced by the excitement and glamour of TV.
“By the end of my internship, I will know for sure whether or not it is something I want to pursue and I will have first-hand experience to support it. This certainty will be my biggest reward!”
Simon Durrant, the editor of bc Magazine, is keen to give budding journalists a chance to prove themselves and says that while prior experience is always useful, enthusiasm and the willingness to work hard and learn quickly are what he’s most interested in from interns. He is taking second year BJ student, Yoonji Choi.
“This is a great opportunity because I want to know more about magazine industry,” says Choi. “Since it is my first internship ever, it will also be a good opportunity to get to know the reality of the world of work outside the university.”
Another BJ student, Alison Hui has already started her internship at HK Magazine. She has 10 whole weeks ahead of her in which to cut her teeth.
“I will be helping with some sections like ‘street talks’. I am currently helping out with a feature about Cha Gwo Leng (an old village near Kwun Tong). I’ll also be helping out on ‘The List’ in the magazine. I really hope to improve my writing through working with professional editors and writers,” said Hui.
“It’s really valuable to learn the process of finding good sources, going out to do interviews and then writing a good article to get it published. Most of all I hope that I get to interview interesting people that will be a fun and inspiring read for the readers!”
Second year BJ year student, Winnie Shum won a placement this summer in the newsroom at RTHK.
“I have dreamt of working in a radio station ever since I started studying journalism because it is full of challenges and variety.
Journalists need to report as soon as possible using good English. Also, radio stations now make use of text, video and audio to report news, as RTHK is doing. I am very happy to be doing an internship at RTHK to find out if it is suitable as my future career path.”
For BJs internships are important because they need to have completed eight weeks of work experience in order to graduate. MJs have wider concerns because they are job hunting and want placements that will lead either directly into employment or expand their skills and experience to add to their CVs.
After many years of study, it’s also a definite bonus when internships pay, as do the SCMP, Muse Magazine, Bloomberg, Reuters and Business Traveller.
MJ student Ronnie Koo is heading to the Hong Kong bureau of Bloomberg in June for 10 weeks. He has just completed an internship at Reuters so is gaining plenty of valuable experience.
“I hope to get practice on writing plenty of fast, concise and accurate stories with an Asian focus, particularly for Chinese and Hong Kong business stories,” he says. “I would like to help out with various desks, mostly with equities and company news, but I’d like to venture out and help out with commodities and alternative investment reporting, given the chance.”
“I look forward to learning how to use the Bloomberg terminals and internal systems to research, collaborate and write news articles on a newswire. This will give me a valuable experience and perhaps an edge over others in the future, regardless of whether I work in the field of journalism or the finance industry.”
Other MJ students are heading off to do do internships in as far flung places as Japan, Cambodia, mainland China, Pakistan and Thailand.
Over the summer the JMSC website will run diaries written by certain interns.