Barry Kalb, one of the JMSC’s most beloved and bemoaned teachers, taught his last class at the JMSC on the 24th of November.

Kalb taught fundamental journalism reporting and writing skills to hundreds of JMSC graduates over his nine years with the faculty, and also passed on his enthusiasm for the profession, telling new students that “being a journalist is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.”

Director of the JMSC, Professor Ying Chan, said although the faculty’s “resident drill sergeant” will no longer be teaching, he will be involved with on-going JMSC projects to “bring the gospel of good reporting and writing to Asia.”

“Barry is a wonderful teacher and his tough-love approach is the personification of the JMSC model,” said Chan. “His students moan and groan when doing his courses, but they feel immensely grateful for having learned from him.”

“Barry was regularly named one of the most memorable teachers by JMSC alumni, and he will be greatly missed by the students and staff alike.”

A journalist with more than 30 years on-the-ground experience covering stories including the Watergate corruption scandal in Washington D.C. and the death of Mao Tse-tung  in China, Kalb brought his deep understanding of journalism and world politics to the classroom, where he insisted on accuracy, balance and good grammar from his students.

Always on the lookout for dangling modifiers and misuse of apostrophes, Kalb’s hard marking is legendary among JMSC alumni. Daniel Pordes, a practicing journalist who was taught by Kalb in 2009, shared his favourite example of Kalb’s style of feedback.

“One of the worst British offenses against the English language is the word ‘actually’,” Kalb wrote on one of Daniel’s papers. “Remove it from your cache of everyday adverbs. Use it rarely, and only when you ‘actually’ need it.”

Channelling his frustration with sloppy writing, Kalb eventually wrote a book on grammar, “You Can Write Better English”, that has been used by bi-lingual graduates throughout the JMSC.

Kalb said although the idea of teaching had never occurred to him “when I was a working hack, out in the field where the action was…I’ve had a wonderful ten years at the JMSC.”

He also paid tribute to Professor Ying Chan’s leadership and vision in convincing the University of Hong Kong to start the JMSC, and to the “top-notch working journalists and researchers” he taught alongside.

“Former students of ours from Hong Kong, mainland China, Europe, North and South America and the Pacific now work in some of the world’s leading news organisations,” he said. “It’s an amazing record for a small component of a university located in this small and unique corner of Asia.”


26 November 2014

JMSC lecturer Barry Kalb retires from a decade of “tough-love” teaching

Barry Kalb, one of the JMSC’s most beloved and bemoaned teachers, taught his last class at the JMSC on Monday 24th November.
21 November 2014

News literacy workshops illustrate healthy skepticism about Internet “news”

The JMSC is expanding its news literacy programme across the Asia Pacific and aims to educate people on ways to think critically about the news they consume and how to tell whether factual news may be fabrication.
20 November 2014

AAJA-Asia Uplink: Lessons from the field

AAJA-Asia will be hosting its first ever multi-city online journalism event on Nov. 29. Two panels with several top speakers and experienced journalists from across Asia will meet, in person and online, to talk shop. Find out where people are meeting in your city and come join the discussion!
11 November 2014

JMSC gets WHO grant to study cultural effect on risk communication

The JMSC has been awarded a one-year World Health Organisation (WHO) research grant to investigate whether cultural differences in Asia can impact the effectiveness of global health risk communication plans.
7 November 2014

JMSC master’s students hit the big time with reporting on Hong Kong protests

JMSC master of journalism students reporting on the Hong Kong Occupy Central protests have achieved great success with their stories, photos and videos published by major media organisations around the world.
7 November 2014

Special licenses give JMSC students full access to Adobe editing software

Second- and third-year JMSC students have been granted individual, one-year licenses to install Adobe’s Creative Cloud full editing suite on their own laptops or home computers.
4 November 2014

Data Journalism Handbook is released in Chinese / 數據新聞手冊中文版發佈

A Chinese-language version of The Data Journalism Handbook, an open-access, crowd-sourced, online reference guide to the emerging field of data journalism, is now available online. 數據新聞手冊是一本自由開源、以眾籌模式完成的網上參考指南,向讀者介紹數據新聞這一新興領域。數據新聞手冊的中文版現已可以在網上閱讀。