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School pupils get a taste of what it’s like to work as a journalist

Secondary school students from Hong Kong have experienced the world of journalism through a series of workshops at The University of Hong Kong.

100 junior secondary school students aged between 12 and 15 from a range of local schools attended the HKU Taster workshops held at the K.K. Leung Building and Eliot Hall on 1 and 3 August.  

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Students practised giving live news reports in front of a green screen

Participants got a chance to experience television news reporting from in front of and behind the camera, presenting live reports using a green screen and making editorial decisions about the importance and interest-level of stories.

Anne Kruger, JMSC Assistant Lecturer and former CNN and ABC news anchor, ran the sessions and was impressed with how engaged the children were.

‘I put the students to work!’ she said. ‘They also had to work together on tasks in small teams. It was wonderful to see them interact with students from different schools who they’d never met before.’

A lecture theatre was turned into a modern newsroom, with students having to report and write hard copy, whilst also being interrupted to deliver a ‘live’ TV report, before returning back to their other work. ‘This is exactly how they would need to adapt in the real world,’ said Kruger.

Students also learnt about the importance of being ‘aware’ as digital citizens and how easily fake or misleading information can turn into a viral story.

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Participants from different schools worked together in teams to do tasks and present their ideas

‘I think the biggest message students seemed to learn was how journalists need to be independent, and how this is different say from someone writing on social media who is an activist or has a vested interest,’ said Kruger.

‘It’s the journalist’s job to weigh the different opinions and find out new sources of information where necessary to be of true service to the public. I think the students realised that good quality journalism is hard work, but worth it!’

Taster day programmes were first launched at HKU in 2014 to give local secondary school pupils an opportunity to explore the university campus and experience life as higher education students across a range of subjects.

Programmes are held several times a year during university holidays and usually over two consecutive days but this summer’s workshops were interrupted by Typhoon Nida which swept across Hong Kong after the first day. In this summer programme there were also sessions by the Faculty of Architecture and Faculty of Science.

The taster programme is open to all secondary school students in Hong Kong and selection is based on academic and non-academic achievement. Click here to visit the programme’s website.