The JMSC’s Master of Journalism students serve rewarding internships at news organisations all over the world, from cross-border outfits such as CNN and the Wall Street Journal Asia to national newspapers such as the Phnom Penh Post and the Jakarta Post.
Xinyan Yu is currently interning at one; the Jakarta Post, Indonesia’s oldest English-language newspaper, and was thrown right into the journalistic thick of things from day one.
This is her account of her first week on the job:
“Arriving at the Jakarta Post last week, I was placed on the world and feature desks. I joined their daily meetings for a week and learned how the newsroom operates on a daily basis.
“Memorising people’s names was really hard at the beginning. I kept a notebook with me all the time and took down names whenever I was introduced to a new person in the office.
“Jakarta’s horrendous traffic has been another difficulty. Every day, I spend one hour on local buses and mini-vans going to work. These buses can get so crowded that people are literally dangling outside the doors.
“In the scorching rainy season, morning transportation is definitely not my favourite part of the day but my evening transportation, (the) popular motorbike taxis in Jakarta, is not so bad, because, despite being exposed to the polluted air, they run much faster through traffic than buses and taxis.
“At the end of last semester, I did a final project on Indonesian domestic helpers in Hong Kong for my Reporting and Writing class. What was initially a lecture on Muslims in Hong Kong turned out to be related to a chain of fascinating social phenomena that I discovered through talking to different people.
“The Jakarta Post’s World Desk Editor read my article last week and decided to run it as an in-depth story, so I spent the past week writing a side-bar story of domestic helpers’ self-support related to the main article about underpayment and homosexuality.
“Last Saturday, my full-page article was published on the reportage page of the Jakarta Post.
“It meant a lot to me. The Indonesian girls I interviewed welcomed me into their world with open arms and allowed me to record their lives as I wished. I hope my articles will let more people know about Indonesian domestic helpers’ living conditions in Hong Kong.
“Publishing the article also reminded me of what an HKU sociology professor studying Indonesian domestic helpers said to me, which was: ‘You should publish your article and let more people know about these things.’
“Most people in Hong Kong and Indonesia are ignorant of many young domestic workers’ dire financial situation, not to mention the increasing number of homosexual relations among them.
“Now I have got used to living in Jakarta. However, working in a non-English speaking community can be a real challenge sometimes. I went to a few events recently but was unable to write stories because of the language barrier.
“I’m still in the process of finding my own niche in the newsroom. My editor has been very helpful in advising me about the right seminars and events to cover. Today, I finished a profile on an American law expert on Indonesia’s Islamic judiciary and tomorrow I’m going to cover an awarding ceremony for HID/AIDS awareness advocates sponsored by the Australian Embassy.”