This year’s admission of Master of Journalism students includes candidates from places as far flung as Tanzania and Colombia.
Sixty students will attend the MJ course from 2011-12.
Forty five percent of the students are international — from Canada, Singapore, America, Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Austria, Tanzania, Zambia, India, Colombia, Korea, Italy, the UK and France. 11% come from Hong Kong and 43% from mainland China.
Forty per cent of the students are fresh graduates. The 60% who have worked before come from a wide range of backgrounds including journalism, teaching, marketing, interpreting, and one student who was a political attaché.
Nancy Dai Yue was born and raised in Tianjin, China. She came to Hong Kong four years ago to attend City University; her first degree is in Media and Communication.
“As a mainland student who studied media in Hong Kong, I always feel that people like me should somehow serve as a bridge between China and the western world. That’s why I chose to further hone my journalistic skills, especially my language skills, through a master’s degree,” said Yue.
“Another reason why I chose the MJ programme is that I don’t want to give up my interest in Communication Research. The programme offers research classes.”
“If I am lucky, maybe I can find an opportunity to get involved in some of the teachers’ research projects.”
Sanday Chongo Kabange, from Zambia, is already an experienced journalist who has worked in print, online and broadcast media in Africa, covering local and international issues.
“I chose HKU because it ranks among the top universities in the world,” said Kabange.
“It offers programmes that are in tandem with my career enhancement agenda like international relations, online and new media training, science and public health among many others.”
Kabange has worked for media outlets such as Voice of America, AfricaNews, WrenMedia UK, Wage Indicator Foundation (Mywage Zambia) and also publishes his own blog.
During his time at the JMSC, he hopes to update his skills to meet current industry demands.
“Considering that the media industry is complex and dynamic, I am hopeful that my time at JMSC will equip me to overcome the realities that will exist by the time I leave the university,” he continued.
Patrick Boehler is half Italian and half Austrian.
Boehler chose to study at HKU because he wants to learn about journalism at the same time as learning about Chinese politics and society. He felt that the JMSC offered that unique combination.
“There are some similar degree programmes in Greater China,” said Boehler. “But I have not found a single one that can compete with the JMSC’s MJ programme in terms of lecturers’ background and passion for media work.”
Boehler has a degree in Political Sciences and International Relations from Italy and a degree in Chinese studies from Austria. Previously, he worked for the Austrian Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence on China issues.
“As press officer at the Austrian embassy in Beijing, I had to deal regularly with the European and Chinese media,” he continued.
“I gained some insight into the extremes of sleaze and integrity in the media business. The integrity I saw, as well as its ability to highlight social wrongs, convinced me that this is what I’d rather want to do with my life.”
Boehler hopes to improve his analytical skills, editorial skills and knowledge of the Chinese media during the coming year.
Paola Barisani is from Cremona, a city close to Milan in Italy.
Barisani wants to study a Master of Journalism because she would like to gain more knowledge about Asia and China in particular. She also wants to develop her multimedia skills and is hoping to widen her network and build valuable connections over the course of the year.
Prior to coming to HKU, Barisani worked in communications and freelanced for an Italian regional magazine.
She holds a degree in Communication from the University of Milan, Italy and a master’s degree in Global Media and Post-national Communication at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London. In between her degrees, she lived and worked in Japan and Vietnam.
“What I hope to get out of the Master of Journalism year is not only the chance to follow an excellent and exhaustive training programme to become a reporter, but also the opportunity to share my passion with other students and professionals, learn from their experience and be immersed in a vibrant and extremely motivating environment” she said.
“At the same time, I hope to gain the advanced multimedia skills and theoretical competencies that will allow me to produce top-notch reports and documentaries for leading news organisations.
“Finding a job after the master is my main goal. I want to work hard and get the best out of this year. Hopefully the master will help me to pursue a career in the field of journalism at the highest level.”
Priscilla Lee was born in London and brought up in Hong Kong.
Lee trained as a lawyer and then tried a range of different roles working in law firms, marketing and volunteering abroad, before finally ending up as Features Editor of WestEast Magazine.
“I decided to pursue a Master of Journalism as I was set on changing my career path,” said Lee. “Journalism is something I truly enjoy – I hope to make it my career.”
“For me, apart from HKU’s international reputation also came the appeal of being home – as ultimately, this is the place I hope to give back to,” she continued.
“Another point of appeal is how the institution is known to attract students from all over the world – which I hope will give me a chance to practice one of the six languages I’m trying to get a grip on right now. I also hope to become a better writer and understand journalism as a discipline.”
Sergio Held is from Columbia. Despite studying law, Held always wanted to be a journalist.
After finishing his undergraduate law studies, he entered politics because he was elected to be a councilman for one of the 20 boroughs of Bogota, the capital city of Colombia. He’s been in office for three years.
Held came to Hong Kong in 2009 on honeymoon and fell in love with the city.
“Soon after I arrived back to Colombia, I saw Kristie Lu Stout broadcasting for CNN from Hong Kong,” said Held. “I found that Kristie was somehow related to HKU and that was how I discovered this great MJ course offered by the JMSC.”
“From the cultural perspective, I hope to gain knowledge of Chinese culture and people,” he said. “I also want to build strong relationships with people from abroad.”
“From the academic perspective, I hope to gain all the knowledge needed to exercise journalism with professionalism,” he continued. “I’d like to focus on radio and TV production. I hope to become part of the big network of media that surrounds the JMSC.”