Interview with Lauren Dockett, the JMSC’s new teaching assistant and internship co-ordinator:
What did you study and where?
I have a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York City and a bachelor’s degree in literature and psychology from New College, a progressive honours college in Sarasota, Florida, and a school that Glenn Beck recently ranked number two on his personal list of most hated colleges in America.
What were you doing before you came to the JMSC?
My last job was as an Executive Editor at Columbia University Press. I acquired and developed non-fiction books to do with social justice, crime, aging, and psychology, all areas I’ve written about myself. As I was leaving, three of my favourite projects were hitting the shelves — one on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, another on the questionable science behind stereotyping children by gender and the third a treatise on true love. When I wasn’t working on books I freelanced, which is something I’ve done for 20 years. My last piece was a story for public radio about the recovery of an endangered (and very ugly) fish in the Hudson River.
Why did you want to come and work at the JMSC?
I was impressed at the quality of what Ying Chan and her colleagues had created here at HKU and interested in being a part of it. I was also curious to see how a journalism school operating in Asia and with a permeable link to China navigates the terrain of press freedom. Finally, I’d heard the journalism industry wasn’t suffering in Hong Kong like it is in the States and wanted to see that for myself.
What does your role involve?
I’ve been given a multifaceted role here. I’m coordinating the internship programme, doing some assistant teaching and administering the SOPA Awards (Asia’s Pulitzer) for the school.
What do you miss about home?
I miss my neighbourhood pizzeria, good Mexican food, street music, and our cat, who is now holed up at my sister’s place in Texas with a dog the size of a donkey.
What’s the best food you’ve eaten so far in Hong Kong?
I ate this great dessert in Cheung Chau: Taiwanese shaved ice covered in caramel sauce. Also, fried clams in the shell tossed in black bean sauce. Delicious.
What’s the thing that’s surprised you most about Hong Kong?
Everyone warned me about the hills but there’s really no preparing yourself for the vertical nature of this place. I spent more than a decade in San Francisco so I’m no stranger to steep streets but Hong Kong’s are something else.
What are your main hopes for your first year?
I hope to do an honourable job with the impressive internship programme that the JMSC already has in place, keep our end of the SOPA Awards running smoothly, help some students along the way and, by this time next year, have beaten Kevin Lau at tennis!