The University of Hong Kong is proud of its journalism programme and is committed to supporting it and helping it grow, says Deputy Vice Chancellor Roland Chin. He made the pledge recently at a gathering of HKU’s journalism alumni, hosted by HKU Vice Chancellor Lap-Chee Tsui and Professor Ying Chan, founding director of the Journalism and Media Studies Centre (JMSC).
The gathering was held at University Lodge, home of Professor Tsui, to celebrate the JMSC’s 14 years of operation.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor predicted that JMSC graduates “are going to take us even higher. We look forward to the way you will change the world and reach a global audience”, he told the gathering. “Ying has done a tremendous job giving birth to this centre”.
About 100 JMSC alumni attended the event, along with JMSC faculty and staff members, and media professionals.
Professor Chan expressed delight at having current students and staff meet the alumni. “This is a rehearsal for our 15th anniversary celebration next year”, she said. “It is gratifying to see our alums working across the industry – for local, international, Chinese and English outlets, across the spectrum. I’m very proud. They’re out there in the world telling stories, and all thriving”.
Founded in 1999, the JMSC graduated its first class of Master of Journalism students in 2001. It launched the Bachelor of Journalism programme in 2004.
Mayella Cheung, the Deputy Head of Corporate Communications and Standards for Radio Television Hong Kong and Managing Editor of RTHK’s Media Digest, recalled the journalism school’s early days.
“We were the first batch of MJs when the school started in 1999. We were the guinea pigs”, she said. “Imagine what it was like in 1999. There was no social media. No Facebook, no Twitter, no iPhones… Ying invited Dan Gillmor from the San Jose Mercury News to teach a course on new media. And he taught us weblogs – since this was before there was such a term as a ‘blog’. We were the first school in the world to include blogs in the curriculum. We are pioneers!”
Zhou Ping (MJ, 2011) recalled how the Master of Journalism course at the JMSC was the gateway to a more exciting life. “Before I went to the JMSC I was a Korean editor for a publisher in Beijing working on textbooks and dictionaries”, she said, “and less than one year later I had my MJ degree and the JMSC courses gave me the confidence to be a reporter in an international media market. And only one month after I joined the Financial Times I was the first international media reporter in Wukan after rioters clashed with the police at an anti-corruption protest“.
Other alumni said they have taken the lessons from the JMSC into their professional lives.
“There is not much of a difference between the assignments I was doing when I was a student at the JMSC and what I do at my current job”, said Jing Yang (MJ, 2012), who became the first person from Mainland China to work at Lloyd’s List, one of the leading daily newspapers covering the shipping industry.
“Every day I’m faced with challenges of business ethics and every step is difficult”, she said. “How shall I manage the integrity of my company and the integrity of the parties involved in a story and my own integrity as a journalist? What I learned at the JMSC was how to practice it in daily work. The JMSC taught me what is right and I am able to remind myself and use what I learned as a yardstick to monitor my work every day”.
Frank Proctor, publisher of Muse Magazine, said the goals Professor Chan set for the JMSC are being realized. “Being at the event was a reminder that most of the people who are having a positive impact, or who seek to have a positive impact, on media in Hong Kong have passed through the JMSC and have been mentored by Professor Chan in one way or another”, Proctor said. “That’s a remarkable achievement and the JMSC is really a treasure of this city”.
Diego Laje (MJ, 2009) and Elmy Leung (MJ, 2008) shared master of ceremonies duties for the evening. Since graduating, Leung has become a TVB News host, and Laje is Asia Correspondent at CNN en Español.
Speeches from the event may be viewed below: