JMSC alumni who entered the master’s programme fresh from their undergraduate studies have chalked up some remarkable early career successes.
The merits of getting work experience before returning to university or spending another year or two at college is often fiercely debated.
For Kathleen Ngai, the decision to continue her education paid off.
Hong Kong-born Ngai graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism and Communications degree from the University of Florida in 2010 and entered the JMSC the following academic year. She is now employed by TVB Entertainment News as a writer and reporter.
“I thought that I might study for an extra year to get used to the environment in Hong Kong and hopefully get to know more about the media industry here, so I did and it has really helped.”
“It was great being in the JMSC,” she said. “I got a lot of hands-on experience, especially from the reporting and production classes. This helped to enhance my reporting and editing skills,” she said.
Ngai’s classmate, Adrian Wong, who gained a Bachelor of Science in Geography from the University of Manchester in 2010, has just moved to Bloomberg TV as Asia-Pacific Affiliates Coordinator, his second job since graduating with his MJ.
He previously worked for CNN‘s video production unit in Hong Kong.
“I have to coordinate all the TV production related issues between the different bureaus and the partner network channels in the region,” said Wong.
“For example, I will book guests for the live shows and arrange for the Bloomberg reporters to do their hits with other newscasts and channels.”
“I’m also training to do some studio work for live programming. This involves teleprompting, performing technical checks and managing the studio, for example, making sure that the anchors and cameramen are in the right positions.”
Wong knew he wanted to work in the media but lacked the necessary experience and contacts.
“The JMSC offered a wide range of courses allowing me to delve into many different aspects such as broadcast, print and online,” he said. “This was the main attraction for me to come to Hong Kong as I knew it would open a lot of doors for me, and it certainly did.”
Yolanda Ma, who graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a Master of Social Sciences degree in 2009 and an MJ in 2010, is also on her second full-time job.
Employed as the South China Morning Post‘s first Social Media Editor, she was recently head-hunted by Thomson Reuters as assistant project manager on a new data journalism project.
Ma said she applied to the JMSC because she wanted a practice-based course after completing a more theoretical Bachelor’s degree.
“The JMSC experience prepared me with basic journalism sense and new media skills,” said Ma. “Len Apcar’s Digital Media class gave me real insight into how new technologies are transforming the journalism industry.”
Ma’s fellow alumnus from 2010, Andrew Lau, studied for a Bachelor of Science in Communication at Northwestern University and now works as a bilingual reporter for TVB in Hong Kong.
“The job involves me going out on assignments and discovering other interesting things that are going on in town,” said Lau.
“Recently, I’ve covered stories on a wide range of topics, including Legionnaire’s Disease bacteria found at the Central Government Offices and the new Liberal Studies exam for students in the (reformed school) scheme.
“We are a 24-hour newsroom, so the job is stressful, but it’s a lot of fun.”
“Getting into the TV industry is hard, but not too hard if you want it enough,” Lau said.
“Before getting my first job, the internship that I did at ICS Shanghai gave me the first glimpse into what the industry is like. I also think my radio and TV classes at the JMSC helped prepare me for a career in video journalism. I learned how to make good television by writing scripts that are shorter, sharper and simpler.”
Stuart Lau, who graduated with a Master of Journalism from the JMSC in 2011, arrived at HKU fresh from completing his undergraduate degree in Law at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Lau is now a reporter for the South China Morning Post.
“I always wanted to be a journalist but I decided to go for a law degree as my undergraduate studies as I believed this would work better in sharpening both my thinking and writing competence,” said Lau.
“I did a Master of Journalism right afterwards so as to establish networks with people in the industry and this turned out to be enormously helpful.”
“I joined Barry Kalb’s writing course, which has helped me grow from a stranger to English news writing to a news reporter,” Lau said.
“The JMSC is a good platform for developing international standards of skills and trends of the journalistic world.”
The deadline for Master of Journalism applications is Tuesday, January 31, 2012.