June 2021

Message from Keith

We often hear that change is inevitable, and the only constant in life. And here at HKU Journalism, we're about to see one rather big change with the departure of our longtime teacher, colleague and friend Jeff Timmermans, who is trading Hong Kong's harbour views, dim sum and humidity for the desert cactus, tacos and dry heat of Arizona. 

Many of you have known Jeff over the years as Director of our Bachelor of Journalism programme and have come to rely on him as a fixture here at Eliot Hall. So I'm going to wish him all the best in his new position at Arizona State University, and turn over this column for him to pen a farewell. I'll be back in September after the summer break, when we welcome in a new cohort. Over to you, Dr. Timmermans.

Keith B. Richburg
Director, Journalism and Media Studies Centre

I arrived in Hong Kong in 1997, expecting to stay for a few years at most. But like so many transplants to this amazing city, my roots grew fast and deep. I’ve spent the most wonderful years of my life here, working with the tremendously talented students and staff of HKU Journalism, witnessing the birth of my daughter, and raising her with Lion Rock spirit. I love Hong Kong. I am a Hongkonger.
It’s because of the experience Hong Kong has given me that a few weeks ago I was offered the opportunity of a lifetime: an endowed chair in business journalism at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School, where I will also oversee the Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism. While I might be leaving Hong Kong, I plan on remaining connected with HKU and honouring the promise I make to all my students: as long as you follow my “rules for recommendations” I will write you as many recommendations or references you need. That’s a lifetime, global guarantee.
I will miss all of you, but I will always treasure the many happy memories I’ve had in Hong Kong. Wherever my family and I go, we will carry with us the spirit of the Lion Rock.

Jeff Timmermans
Director of Bachelor of Journalism Programme and Associate Professor of Practice


Work by our students along with those from Hong Kong Baptist University were chosen for the third annual Young Lenses exhibition at the Foreign Correspondents' Club that ran from 17-31 May. This year's theme was "Protest and Pandemic". Photographs by eight of our graduate and undergraduate students were featured--Vanesse Chan, Katherine Cheng, Jeff Cheung, Harvey Kong, Alvin Lam, Rhea Mogul, Teele Rebane and Zixu Wang.

The China Media Project has re-launched its research website, with new research categories on the international reach of Chinese media ("Going Global") and a new "CMP Dictionary" that defines key terms in Chinese political discourse. Visit their website to learn more.

Faculty & Staff News

Dr. Masato Kajimoto spoke at a three-day UNESCO webinar hosted by the Republic of Serbia on "Media and Information Literate Citizens: Think Critically, Click Wisely!" The event launched a new resource for educators and learners on media and information literacy developed in response to the disinfodemic. Masato took part in the "Policies and Practices: Futures of Media and Information Literacy" session on 27 April.

Dr. King-wa Fu was a panelist at a discussion co-organized by the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Baptist University journalism schools on 21 June about "Hong Kong Media Freedom Post-NSL". 

HKU Journalism in the news
(2 May) Citizen News: 線上談:長官決定新聞真假 威權社會自由枯萎 (In Chinese, King-wa Fu)
(3 May) Radio Free Asia: 【世界新聞自由日】傳利君雅月底離職 港台Youtube頻道大批敏感節目下架 (In Chinese, King-wa Fu)
(11 May) First Draft News: Chinese-made vaccines are being subject to misleading narratives (Masato Kajimoto)
(13 May) South China Morning Post: Coronavirus: ‘vaccine bubble’ incentives aren’t enough, Hong Kong must get creative to dispel rumours, share facts about jabs, experts say (Masato Kajimoto)
(14 May): VOA News: Media Analysts Troubled by Changes at Hong Kong's Public Broadcaster (Keith B. Richburg)
(17 May) Ming Pao: 官員聲聲假新聞 學者憂立法意在傳媒 半年提13次 林鄭稱研究他國做法 鄧炳強稱關乎國安 (In Chinese, Masato Kajimoto)

(18 May) Ming Pao: 報評會沒免責權 執委自言無牙虎 憂遭告誹謗「就住」查失實 一直爭取賦權不果 (In Chinese, Masato Kajimoto)

(19 May) Hong Kong Free Press: Facing up to the challenge: how Hong Kong’s mask manufacturers managed to survive the competition, by Gabriel Fung (BJ 2022) and Shirley Wang (BJ 2022)

(30 May ) South China Morning Post: Coronavirus: how China is taking a high-stakes bet on vaccine diplomacy in Latin America, by Geoffrey Knoell (MJ 2021)

(31 May) Hong Kong Free Press: Hong Kong Quidditch evolves from Harry Potter into inclusive sport, by Elvis Yu (MJ 2021)

(11 June) Bloomberg: Hong Kong to Start Censoring Films on National Security Grounds (Keith B. Richburg)

(17 June) RTHK News: John Lee's comments 'ominous': journalism lecturer (Sharron Fast)

(18 June) Agence-France Presse: Hong Kong media reel as security law targets democracy paper's reporting (Sharron Fast)

Coming Up

We're co-organizing a symposium with the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Baptist University journalism schools from 2-5pm on Wednesday, 7 July, to tackle questions about how we combat misinformation and disinformation in Hong Kong, whether legislation is the answer and explore alternatives. The event will be in-person at the HKU Faculty of Law Moot Court with simultaneous broadcast on Zoom. Info and registration here.

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