Monthly newsletter: July 2017
Message from Keith


Sometimes, waiting for The Big Story to break, journalists can miss another story right under their noses.

That was the case 20 years ago, in 1997, when many of us—myself included—thought that Hong Kong's handover to China would be the Asian story of the decade. The real Big Story, I believe, was the Asian financial crisis that started on 2 July 1997, with the devaluation of the Thai baht, and within a few months collapsed currencies, stock markets, property prices, and living standards from Seoul in the north to Jakarta in the south.

The Asian financial crisis and its aftermath were the topic of an analysis piece I wrote for the South China Morning Post that appeared the weekend of the handover’s twentieth anniversary. China’s two-decade rule over Hong Kong has been intensely analysed, debated and dissected from all angles. The financial crisis, its causes and cures still remain somewhat murky.

The financial crisis, arguably, had the most immediate short-term impact on the region. It led to the overthrow of President Suharto in Indonesia, and turned the world’s fourth most populist country into a democracy. It upended Malaysian politics, altered the future of Thailand, and prompted most of the region’s governments to begin stockpiling foreign exchange and improve their regulatory systems. It also caused many in Asia to question whether to rely on the West to help them in the future.

Meanwhile the next chapter for Hong Kong has yet to be written. We have 30 years to go before the next crucial date, when China’s promise to allow Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy under a separate political system is set to expire. The warning signs today are ominous. Beijing has already declared that the “joint declaration,” the Sino-British treaty that governed the handover, no longer has any “practical effect".

Will China’s handling of Hong Kong be Asia’s next crisis? Or a conflict on the Korean peninsula? Or a military confrontation over the disputed islands in the South China Sea?

One lesson for journalists is that we all need to be vigilant—not for the Big Story we think is coming, but the one we might least expect.

Keith Richburg
JMSC Director
Highlights last month
JMSC alumni recognized across categories at the 2017 SOPA Awards
The JMSC was well-represented at this year's SOPA Awards for Editorial Excellence. Three MJ alumni and one incoming candidate were awarded in different categories. Zou Sicong was a winner in the Explanatory Reporting category for his piece about the Cultural Revolution for Initium. In a multimedia piece for the SCMP about the same topic, Jun Mai received an Honourable Mention for Excellence in   Journalistic Innovation. Annie Zhang co-wrote a story for Initum about the abducted Hong Kong booksellers, which earned an honourable mention for Excellence in Investigative Reporting. Rounding up the JMSC wins is John Siu, who will be starting his masters with us this fall. He received an Honorable Mention for Excellence in Information Graphics for 
his "power map" in HK01 about the election committee of the 2017 Hong Kong chief executive election.
APAC news literacy group meets in Hong Kong 
The JMSC co-hosted a two-day APAC News Literacy Working Group meeting on 13-14 June with Facebook and The Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA). JMSC faculty joined over 40 international experts to find solutions on scaling news literacy to fight misinformation. During the event, Anne Kruger hosted a Facebook Live discussion about news literacy with Facebook Head of News Partnerships Campbell Brown and JMSC Director Keith Richburg. Watch it here.
Faculty & Staff News

Media Law Project founder Doreen Weisenhaus leaving after 17 years with the JMSC
This has been a year of big changes here at the JMSC, and one of the biggest is the departure this summer of our very first professor and founder of the Media Law Project, Doreen Weisenhaus, who is leaving after 17 years to join Northwestern University. Doreen has been an energetic staple on our staff and a vigilant defender of press freedom issues in Hong Kong, the region, and the world.

Doreen created our internship programme and our graduate and undergraduate courses in media law and ethics. As the founder of the Media Law Project, Doreen served the wider community of journalists, media lawyers and academics working in very different and often difficult situations across Asia. She also brought major international conferences to HKU, wrote the definitive book on media law in Hong Kong and has spoken at media law conferences and panels around the world. Her latest book this year on media law and policy in the internet age grew out of one of those conferences. At Northwestern, Doreen will work with both the journalism and law schools to develop a global media law and policy program at a time of growing concern about press freedom in the US and other nations.

We are fortunate Doreen has agreed to stay on with us as Honorary Associate Professor. She will continue to serve as director of the Media Law Project while completing updates and a Chinese translation of Hong Kong Media Law as well as creating an Asian media law training manual for litigators to defend journalists in Southeast Asia. We would like to say thank you to Doreen and wish her all the best in her new role—but not say goodbye since we expect to see her back here on a regular basis.

Staff Appointments
David Bandurski, research associate at the China Media Project and editor of the project’s website, has been appointed Honorary Lecturer.

Masato Kajimoto, Project Leader of the Asia Pacific Digital Citizens Project, is now an Assistant Professor of Practice with the JMSC.

Anne Kruger, Principal Investigator of the JMSC Cyber News Verification Lab, has been appointed Assistant Professor of Practice.

Director of the China Media Project Qian Gang, who joined the JMSC as a scholar-in-residence in the fall of 2003, will continue with us as Honorary Lecturer.

Keith Richburg joined Professor Richard Hu of the HKU Dept. of Politics and Public Administration, Isabella Steger, editor and reporter at Quartz and Professor Jeffrey Wasserstrom of the University of California, Irvine, on a panel discussion about "How Much Should We Expect to Know About Chinese Politics?" The event, co-hosted with the French Centre for Research on Contemporary China. was part of a series of public lectures under the HKU Faculty of Social Sciences Strategic Research Theme in Contemporary China
Anne Kruger spoke on a panel to discuss “Empowering civil society for fighting misinformation” at the Keep it Real: Truth and Trust in the Media conference, co-organized by WAN-IFRA and The Straits Times, in Singapore.
JMSC Honorary Lecturer Vivienne Chow moderated a talk with renowned Chinese art collector Uli Sigg at the first GAAB Collectors Summit. Held in Warsaw, Poland, this was the first edition of the annual international event devoted to collectors of Asian contemporary art. Vivienne also spoke on a panel about the positioning and role of a collector in the art world.
JMSC Director Keith Richburg spoke to educators from the region who were at HKU attending the Faculty of Education's 2017 Summer Institute. This year's theme--Innovations in Turbulence.
Articles by Faculty & Staff
1 June –  Medium: Scientists ask finance boss for tips at HK climate meet, by Marianne Bray
4 June Variety: Vast New Wanda Studios in China Targets Big Hollywood, Domestic Productions, by Vivienne Chow
12 June – The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Lawsuit Links $2.2 Billion Deal to Malaysian 1MDB Scandal, co-written by Tom Wright
21 June – Poynter: A new fact-checking coalition is launching in Japan, by Masato Kajimoto
23 June – The Washington Post: Hong Kong was supposed to liberalize China. How did the opposite happen?, by Keith Richburg
28 June – Quartz: On June 31, 1997, Hong Kong had a taste of independence for just one day, by Vivienne Chow
Articles by Students & Alumni
3 June – Hong Kong Free Press: Women on corporate boards: Rise to the occasion, Hong Kong!, by Petra Loho (MJ, 2015)
4 June – Tens of Thousands in Hong Kong Commemorate the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre, by Kevin Lui (MJ, 2015)
7 June – Medium: In brief: How Hong Kong will fare in an AI-powered economy, by Jonas Thomas Kelsch (MJ, 2017)

8 June - Asia Sentinel: Sleeping With the Fishes (or the Lawn) in Hong Kong, by Deng Yang (MJ, 2017)

9 June - Asia Sentinel: Reviving a Once-Raffish Shanghai Theme Park, by Ernest Chan (MJ, 2017)

10 June - Hong Kong Free Press: ‘Complementary distractions’: Hong Kong’s full-time athletes can also be full-time students, by Delia von Pflug (BJ, 2020)

12 June - Asia Sentinel: Depression in China: Cries for Help Go Unanswered, by Jane Zhang (MJ, 2017)

25 June – South China Morning Post: New Hong Kong water park poses threat to local egrets, birdwatchers warn, by Jane Li (MJ, 2014)

26 June – Asia Times Online: China’s on an IPO frenzy – and it looks set to continue, by Lin Wanxia (MJ, 2016)

Coming up this month

To mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover, the JMSC is co-hosting the latest BBC World Questions with BBC World Service. On 4 July at Rayson Huang Theatre, a panel of politicians and thinkers from across the spectrum will join Jonathan Dimbleby to debate questions from a public audience on Hong Kong’s economic, political and international future. The programme will be available online from 9 June. Find out more here.

Assistant Professor Masato Kajimoto will be travelling to Madrid  to attend Global Fact 4, the fourth edition of the Global Fact-Checking Summit, from 5-7 July. Hosted by the International Fact-Checking Network, it is the largest international gathering of organizations that regularly publish nonpartisan reports on the accuracy of statements by public figures, major institutions and other widely circulated claims of interest to society.

Anne Kruger and Masato Kajimoto will be attending the 2017 Google News Lab Summit in Singapore from 12-13 July where attendees will share insights on news industry trends in APAC, new frontiers in data journalism and how news organizations in Asia are fighting the mis/disinformation ecosystem, among other topics.