By George W. Russell
The Journalism and Media Studies Centre has welcomed 32 new students to its Bachelor of Journalism Class of 2022. An orientation for the incoming BJs was held on 29 August at the Digital Media Lab in Eliot Hall.
The event, presented by Jeffrey Timmermans, Associate Professor of Practice and Director of the BJ Programme, included an introduction by Director Keith Richburg, informative addresses from faculty about the courses, and a lively investigative exercise for students to kick off their four-year journey of inquiry and discovery.
Later, the students gathered with faculty, staff and alumni at a social evening held at Pier 7 in Central.
“I’m pleased to introduce this talented class of 32 Bachelor of Journalism students, who will be with us for the next four years,” said Dr. Timmermans. This year, JMSC attracted applicants from many top-flight Hong Kong international schools and leading secondary institutions, including Diocesan Boys’ School, St. Paul’s Co-educational College, South Island School, West Island School, St. Paul’s Convent School and Marymount Secondary School.
“We also have some outstanding international applicants,” Dr. Timmermans added. “Our Class of 2022 includes six different nationalities.” There are 26 students from China (including 22 from Hong Kong), as well as two from India, and one each from Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and the United States.
The Japanese student, Natsuki Arita, grew up in Hong Kong with a passion for reading and writing. “During the group interview at Eliot Hall, I decided to change my programme rankings so that journalism was ranked highest,” she said. “I’d like to see myself pursuing a job in media, perhaps creating mini-documentaries.”
Hong Kong student Gabriel Fung hopes to pursue a video-orientated career. “I wanted to pursue a degree where I could use my skills in photography and filmmaking to produce something that could be of benefit to people,” he said. “I realised that JMSC offered courses that didn’t focus solely on writing.”
One of the attractions of the BJ course, he added, was the ability to choose subjects from a diverse list. “I was also enticed by the freedom of being able to select the courses at JMSC myself instead of having my choices being limited or pre-selected by the faculty.”
Meanwhile, 68 candidates joined the Master of Journalism programme for the 2018-2019 academic year.
“The MJ class of 2018-19 is our first, hand-picked cohort, chosen with a new admissions process that screens for journalistic aptitude rather than skills,” said Kevin Sites, Associate Professor of Practice and Director of the MJ programme.
This year, 45 students hail from mainland China, while other countries and territories represented include Hong Kong, Germany, India, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, South Sudan, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Lisa Harding, a British-born Hong Kong resident who has had a career in education, said she chose the programme at JMSC because the course content was impressive. “And because the credentials of the staff, all with strong backgrounds in the industry, was incomparable to anything else on offer in Hong Kong.”
Ms. Harding said she is looking forward to “getting stuck into the work” of the programme. “I want to get my hands on the camera, get busy working on my projects and get on with mastering some things I need to learn from scratch, such as digital tools, and relearn video production.”
The orientation programme for the new MJ students was held on 1 September at the Global Lounge.
“More than ever the world needs good journalists,” said Sites. “We’re confident we found them with this class and eager to see just what they’ll achieve first as students and then as professional colleagues.”
Photography by Li Chen.