Four JMSC Bachelor of Journalism students helped cover the recent leadership changes in Beijing for two leading Hong Kong newspapers.
The four final-year students were in Beijing between March 1 and 8 for the sessions of China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) and the National Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
James Chan Kin-sing and Nicholas Leung Ho-yin, wrote stories for the Hong Kong Economic Times, one of the top financial newspapers in the city, while Tracy Tong Wing-man and Yuki Cheung Ting worked for the South China Morning Post, the city’s most widely-circulated English-language newspaper.
They covered plenary sessions and panel discussions, interviewed government officials and delegates, took photos, and wrote daily articles under tight deadline pressure.
“On one assignment, I was asked to garner opinion on the change of leadership”, said Cheung. “I took the initiative to approach delegates of different sectors – like business, law, agriculture, etc. – to build a more balanced summary of quotes … This experience is unique (in) that I had interactions with people more than just Hong Kong politicians”.
Tong said she panicked at first at the thought of getting comments in a venue with more than 5000 people coming out of an auditorium at the same time. “Luckily, I started to get used to the style of the conferences after a few days”, she said.
Leung learned of the difficulties reporters encounter while covering events like this on the mainland. He recalled his experience covering a panel discussion of NPC delegates from Shanxi Province.
“I approached the front door of the destination but was then stopped by the police, even (though) I have shown my reporter pass,” he said. “The police told me to enter from the back door, (for) which I needed to take a lengthy detour and walked for 30 minutes”. Reporters, he concluded, are “not privileged most of the time in mainland China”.
This is the fifth time trips for journalists-to-be to the NPC and CPPCC have been funded by the Journalism Education Foundation Hong Kong Limited, a non-profit organization that seeks to raise the standards of journalism in Hong Kong.
In all, 24 students and two teachers made the trip from six tertiary education institutions: HKU, Chinese University, Baptist University, City University, Shue Yan University and Chu Hai College of Higher Education. Students were also assigned to do stories for ATV, Commercial Radio, Ming Pao, Sing Tao Daily and the Hong Kong Broadband Network.