Graduate students at the Journalism and Media Studies Centre recently returned from winter internships all over the world with a lot of experience and quite a few published articles under their belts.
JMSC students had their worked published in the New York Times, the BBC, CNN, Mizzima and The Myanmar Times in Burma, The Irrawaddy and Phuket Wan in Thailand, Global Times in China, the Phnom Penh Post, The Hindu in India, the Nepali Times, the Vancouver Sun, and the Zambian Bloggers Network in Southern Africa.
Ma Ning (MJ, 2013) interned in Yangon, Burma with The Myanmar Times, the only newspaper in the country with foreign funding. The paper’s Burmese co-founder, Sonny Swe, has been in prison since 2005 for publishing the paper without the approval of the government’s Ministry of Information.
Ma said that the paper’s history helped her appreciate the importance of journalism and credited her internship with helping her learn how a newspaper works from the inside.
“It never occurred to me that for someone who has almost no experience in an actual newsroom, I should worry about getting first-hand working experience and getting stories published! And that’s exactly what I did at The Myanmar Times”, Ma said.
Her stories ran on the opening up of Burmese bank ATMs to China’s UnionPay card holders, and the push by the United Nations to conduct the first official census in Burma since 1983. Her story on how non-governmental organizations use community theatre to advance gender equality and women’s rights in rural Burmese villages was also published.
She said that she was grateful for the trust and confidence her editor showed in her by regularly sending her to interview high-level officials. “I don’t think I would have had the same chance if I had done an internship somewhere else”, she said.
Ma was one of four JMSC students who went to Burma for internships over winter break – the first time the JMSC has sent students to intern in that country.
Echo Hui (MJ, 2013) interned at The Irrawaddy, a magazine founded by Burmese exiles in Thailand.
“I covered investigative stories, breaking news, scoops, and I had a chance to do some travel stories as well”, Hui said.
The Irrawaddy published her stories on the fate of refugees who fled persecution in Burma and into Thailand, the effects of China’s competition with the United States for greater influence in Burma, and how Chinese police rescued a daughter of a Kachin Independence Army officer from a forced marriage to a Chinese farmer. She also wrote a story on the trial of a Burmese druglord for the murder of over a dozen sailors on the Mekong River.
Two of Hui’s articles were translated into Burmese and she has been invited back to work for the magazine in June.
Anjani Trivedi (MJ 2013) interned at the New York Times bureau in New Delhi, and stories she wrote about the gang rape and subsequent death of a 23-year-old medical student were published in the newspaper’s “India Ink” blog.
Chen Yifei (MJ, 2013) was also in India for an internship. She completed five weeks at The Hindu office in New Delhi.
The first story Chen worked on was that same gang rape, which made headlines around the world.
“I was asked to go online to Facebook and Twitter to get the online reaction to the rape”, Chen said. “It seems like a simple task but it’s actually challenging because some of the comments, like people demanding that the rapists be hung or castrated, are quite emotional and you can’t get much useful information out of them”.
Chen got her first byline when The Hindu published her story on how the Delhi Zoo keeps its animals warm during unusually cold temperatures in the winter.
Click on the hyperlinks to read other articles published by JMSC students this past winter:
Ammara Ahmad (MJ, 2013). Was Benazir a Victim of the System? Malaysiakini
Junchen Cao (MJ, 2013). Good Times Gone? Global Times. As a contributor.
Amanda Shuai (MJ, 2013). Interview with Yan Huichang. HK Magazine
Sherry Zhang (MJ, 2003). Charging Ahead. South China Sea
Paavan Mathema (MJ, 2013). Eye-opening: Photography brings life to blind students. CNN