As thousands of pro-democracy activists block Hong Kong streets to demand the right to choose their own Chief Executive, students from the JMSC have formed on-the-ground news teams to cover this historic event.
In a demonstration of how the media landscape has changed, master of journalism and bachelor of journalism students have started their own websites and twitter feeds to report news live from the protests, with JMSC staff providing support and urging students to be cautious in a fast-changing news environment.
Professor Ying Chan, director of the JMSC, said teachers were already incorporating the current events into their teaching and are asking students to apply the values and journalism tools they’ve been taught when they cover the events.
“At the JMSC, we consider the current political debates and activism great learning moments and our students will have to balance their roles as citizens, students and journalists,” said Chan. “This is a very important time for Hong Kong, and it’s precisely times like this that we need journalists the most, to cover often polarizing events in a truthful, fair and transparent manner.”
Jeffrey Timmermans, director of the bachelor of journalism programme, said one group of second and third years students who were concerned by the many protest rumours being spread through social media, had set up their own news team and website, HK Verified, to provide independent verification of the rumours, without any prompting from the faculty.
“They have a newsroom set up in their JMSC student lounge, which is their headquarters, and they are manning it 24 hours a day and coordinating with remote reporters on the ground, who are feeding information into the headquarters,” said Timmermans.
“It’s a great learning opportunity but our priority is keeping them safe and we have been offering them guidance on how to stay on the edge of crowds, to always have an exit path in mind if you get caught up in a crowd and whatever they do, whether as participants or as a reporter, their first priority should be their own safety.”
People wanting to follow the JMSC student reporting on the protests can visit the news sites below.