After a two-year sojourn in Seoul, the annual New.Now.Next Media Conference – the flagship event of the Asian-American Journalists Association’s Asia Chapter – returned to Hong Kong for 2017 and the JMSC played host.
Director Keith Richburg made the opening remarks along with AAJA National President Yvonne Leow and AAJA Asia President and Bloomberg TV anchor Angie Lau. “It was great to have N3Con come back home to JMSC,” said Richburg. “Journalism is under attack like never before, cries of ‘fake news’ are being used to drown out legitimate investigative work.”
New platforms and tools, he added, were emerging almost too fast to keep track. “So I can’t think of a better time for a gathering of what’s new, now and next in our industry, and with our hub here in Hong Kong, we want to be at the centre of that conversation.”
JMSC alumni were among the nearly 200 participants attending workshops and panel discussions focusing on timely issues over the three-day conference. JMSC faculty members Masato Kajimoto and Anne Kruger hosted a workshop on how to get the numbers right—“A Refresher: Very Basic Statistics for Journalists”—where they discussed how to avoid pitfalls when interpreting surveys, health research and social science studies.
The programming of the event and other AAJA activities in the region is often customized to the locale, as Lau explained, “In Hong Kong, we are a resource for students who can play an active part in growing their career alongside mid- to senior-level executives and journalists who join to keep on top of the changing aspects of our industry and to stay ahead of the curve.”
A panel discussion, jointly organized with the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC), Hong Kong, to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China brought together reporters who were here in 1997. Richburg, who was then the Hong Kong bureau chief for The Washington Post, joined correspondents from CNN, The Independent, The New York Times and The Straits Times to reflect on foreign media coverage of the handover and what lessons can be drawn from their experiences in reporting on Hong Kong today.
The conference was capped off with a gala dinner at the FCC with Joshua Wong of Demosisto speaking at the event. AAJA Asia plans to partner again with the JMSC next year and build on the momentum they created at this edition’s N3Con. “Our job as journalists has become tougher of late,” said Lau. “But now more than ever, we know how important it is to remain and stay relevant to our audience, to our community.
AAJA Asia’s partnership with the JMSC could help ensure journalism talent remains strong and nurtured,” Lau said. “We must continue to grow … with issue-based panels and digital workshops on the latest tools.”
Lau is already thinking ahead to next year’s N3Con. “We want to continue to bring in top speakers in our industry,” she said. “We also want to expand our footprint in the journalism community to include the Hong Kong Journalists Association among our attendees.”
Photography by fred sugar