University courses are excellent preparation for a career in journalism, but there’s nothing like the real thing to set students apart when it comes time to look for a job.
Over the winter break, 40 Master of Journalism students from the Journalism and Media Studies Center participated in local and international internships that immersed them in the day-to-day work of practicing journalism. Their experience included writing spot reports, drafting feature stories, and producing television and radio news for a variety of media outlets across the Asian region.
Grace Huang, from Hong Kong, worked at CNN Travel, where she pitched and wrote feature stories for CNN’s global audience. “I pitched 10 stories, and ended up writing five of them. I also worked on CNN’s travel blog and its photo galleries.” Huang said. “For CNN, the photo galleries are what draws people to the stories.” At the end of her internship, Huang said she had a better understanding of how online media works, she had learned about style guides (e.g., avoiding clichés), and she was able to write more concisely.
One of the JMSC’s students from China, Lorrin Shao, worked in Kuala Lumpur for Malaysiakini. As a member of its “China Desk,” Shao wrote feature stories on culture, the Malaysian government, and local events, including a big demonstration on New Year’s Eve against government price hikes. “As there was a lot of pressure to be the first to publish, I had to produce news quickly on the spot,” said Shao. “In addition to working on interviewing skills, I learned to write in a more balanced way. This was particularly important when I did a story on a conflict between the government and investors.”
American Stephy Burnett wrote, edited and produced stories for Radio Television Hong Kong. “Everyday the events editor would assign stories. After sending in my script, I’d also have to do sound editing and voiceovers. I ended up doing 20 stories, about one a day,” she said. “What I learned is that the news business here in Hong Kong is cut-throat, both within and among news organisations. The experience was a really good test of whether one can do broadcast journalism, given the aggressive environment.”
Kevin Cureau, from France, worked at Agence France-Presse’s Video Desk in Hong Kong. “I mainly worked on video production, which included editing video from correspondents around the world,” he said. “I created packages out of raw images and sound bites, and did voiceovers in French.” Cureau also shot news footage of breaking events in Hong Kong. He credits the internship with helping him “learn how the wire services work, to be more accurate, and to refine my shooting and editing skills.”