The latest crop of Master of Journalism students for 2010-2011 will be one of the most diverse yet for the JMSC.
More than 40 per cent of the incoming students are international, hailing from the USA, UK, Canada, Malaysia, South Korea, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Australia, France, Estonia, Pakistan, Tanzania and India. About a third of the students are from mainland China and the rest are from Hong Kong.
Sixty eight applicants have accepted offers to study at the JMSC, an acceptance rate of more than 85 percent — the highest ratio to date. Of those students, roughly a third are fresh graduates and the rest have prior journalism experience or other professional experience.
“We are very impressed with this group of applicants,” said Doreen Weisenhaus, the JMSC Associate Professor who oversees MJ admissions. “Many have had established careers in far-flung places and others are keen to start in the challenging world of today’s journalism.”
Looking behind all these statistics, it is clear that the JMSC has, once again, attracted high calibre students.
Zhu Li is from the People’s Republic of China and is currently a news editor for the Internet News Department of the Xinhua News Agency in Beijing.
“The reason why I chose the MJ programme at HKU is mainly due to the fact that it aims to provide education and training in core and advanced journalism skills in all areas of convergent media while fostering journalists with a global view,” said Li.
“I have been engaged in the media already for three years. What I need is to integrate my experience and theoretical knowledge and broaden my outlook. This is exactly what the MJ programme can provide me with.”
Richard Schuster is an assistant teacher at the University of Film, Theatre and Television in Budapest. Prior to this, he was a news anchor for five years at TV2 in Hungary — he has reported from all over the world, including Afghanistan and Kosovo.
Schuster is keen to come to the JMSC for the international perspective: “I’d like to develop world-standard journalistic skills by studying at one of the best schools in the world, to be part of an international community and to be where it is all happening. The JMSC brings all this together.”
Ida Chan Yun Chi is a channel manager at Live News Channel, Hong Kong Cable. A Hong Konger, she has been in broadcasting in the city for more than 25 years and has also worked in television in Canada.
“I want to update myself with new theories and technologies,” said Chan. “I am looking forward to going back to school and being able to mix with young journalists from Hong Kong and mainland China to give me a chance to understand what they think. This kind of sharing is very enriching.”
Michelle Lai is fresh from postgraduate studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London.
Prior to this she was marketing manager of Sony Pictures in her native country, Malaysia. Her recent study of China piqued her interest.
“My professional experience has influenced me to develop an interest in media, hence my pursuit of the Master of Journalism course,” says Lai. “But as someone passionate about Chinese studies, what really stood out to me was the course’s unique curriculum on how to cover news on China’s socio-economic transformation.”
Dan Goodman is an American who is currently living and working in Beijing. He started out doing public relations before setting up a website, www.39-n.com, which provides information on and analysis of China to a foreign audience.
“In general, we find that news stories or China-coverage can be sensationalist and can miss the nuance of an issue in China. Our hope is that we can provide a different perspective on these issues.”
Goodman wants to come to the JMSC because of its unique perspective on China and China’s media.
“Having taken a long look at many of the Journalism programmes around the world, the JMSC’s mix of faculty, research programmes (particularly the China Media Project and the Media Law Project) and the location in Hong Kong, all aligned with my own academic and journalistic interests and would provide the best forum for me to pursue those.”
A new student who currently works in Hong Kong is Colin Reid, a Brit. Currently an executive director at the investment bank, JP Morgan, Reid is regional technology lead for the Equity Derivatives business. After more than 15 years in the business world, he is keen to give his long time dream of becoming a journalist a shot.
“The JMSC seems like a great place to launch a career change into journalism,” says Reid. “The breadth of the programme, the quality of the faculty and the diversity of the students’ backgrounds were all attractions to me.”
It’s not only Reid who wants a career change from business. Jeongjin Lim is a South Korean student who, until recently, was Head of Communications at UBS Hana Asset Management in Seoul. Prior to this, she was a correspondent for two news wire services in Seoul: Dow Jones and Thompson Reuters.
“The programme and faculty at the JMSC are the ideal combination of practical field knowledge and academic depth which was crucial to my decision-making. I don’t want to stay too far away from the fast-changing media field while I am deepening my academic understanding,” says Lim.
“Considering Asia’s growing media industry in the light of economic and social development, the network building that gets done at the JMSC will play a key role in the global journalism society of the future,” she continues. “I am very honored to be a part of this growing circle and feel very motivated.”