Saturday, March 09, 2013

Coverage Report - HKSYU U.S. Presidential Election Reporting Trip 2012

The following is the coverage summary of the news generated based on HKSYU U.S. Presidential Election Reporting Trip 2012. Ten coverage that approximately equivalent to HKD 211k advertising value was generated. For full coverage report, please visit here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hong Kong Students cover 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

Attn: News and Education Editors/Journalists
For Immediate Release

Hong Kong Students cover 2012 U.S. Presidential Election

HONG KONG, November 19 --- Students from Hong Kong Shue Yan University’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication covered U.S. Presidential Election 2012 in Washington, D.C. for the very first time in the history of Hong Kong education.

Earlier this month, Hong Kong Shue Yan University’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication sponsored six students to go to Washington, D.C. to cover stories on U.S. Presidential Election 2012, as well as to carry out cultural exchange with local universities. The trip, namely “The U.S. Presidential Election 2012: HKSYU Student Journalist Educational Reporting Trip" was a first of its’ kind for the University.

Students observed senior journalists at news organizations including the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, and also actively covered the Election for the student media through social media.

 “The six students have created around a maximum of 10,000 weekly reach on the trip’s Facebook page and have accumulated nearly 2,000 views on their WordPress within two weeks, they have done a great job in utilizing the power of social media to reach out more audience, we are proud of their work”, said Professor Leung Tin-Wai, Head of Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Hong Kong Shue Yan University.

 “Apart from simply text and pictures, we used multimedia elements and distributed our reporting via various channels including print and online media. This is a great opportunity for us to create integrated reporting on such an influential political event”, said Phoebe Chau, Executive Editor of Our Voice (the University’s student newspaper) and one of the participants of the trip.

Participants also visited various prestigious leading media outlets including The Washington Post, The New York Times, National Journal, CCTV as well as National Public Radio, and have visited Georgetown University and American University for cultural exchange. The trip helped students to gain valuable experience in reporting overseas, and encouraged young and aspiring journalists in Hong Kong to better understand foreign culture and international affairs.

For student’s stories covered throughout the trip, please visit or

For media enquiries and interviews, please contact:

Amy Wu
Lecturer and trip leader
Department of Journalism and Communication,
Hong Kong Shue Yan University

Jennifer Tang
Student Media Representative
Hong Kong Shue Yan University

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pulitzer-Prize winning newspapers focus on investigative reporting

By Jennifer Tang

During their two week trip to the U.S, Shue Yan journalism students visited various media outlets including two Pulitzer-Prize winning newspapers. The students observed the differences and similarities between the American and Hong Kong media.

The first visit was to The Washington Post is best known for its investigative stories since reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein led the investigation Watergate scandal that greatly contributed to President Richard Nixon’s resignation in the 70s.

A political reporter at The Washington Post
is working on the coverage for the election.
“The investigative team works on long-term projects; they spend a lot of time going through documents, peeling back what’s happening in different government agencies, to see if all of the dots are lining up and if there appears to be anything a little bit off, then they start hunting to take some time and ask some questions to figure out what’s going on,” said Alma Gill, who works at The Washington Post.

“Jeff Leen (assistant managing editor of The Post’s investigations unit) always says the smallest thing can turn into the biggest story because most people will overlook a very small issue, when usually that’s the beginning of the story,” said Gill.

It is a very common practice for the U.S. media to have a code of ethics, which is usually distributed to every reporter who joins the media. In The Washington Post, journalists are very conscious about the accuracy of their print reporting.

“It needs to be checked by a copy editor to make sure that is exactly what you are printing,” said Gill.

The third largest newspaper in the States, The New York Times, also demonstrated how much it treasures journalistic ethics as well as in-depth and investigative reporting. This could be spotted easily from the way they cover the presidential election.

The Pulitzer Prize, one of the top awards
and highest achievements in journalism.
Leonard Apcar, Economics Editor of The New York Times, said, “there is a full-time political staff that started to get organized over a year ago, and there are around four or five people who do nothing but politics, which went from the midterm of 2010 to cover it. By summer of 2011, we started dedicating more people full-time to the campaign coverage. Some of these people are not attached to this (Washington, D.C.) bureau, maybe they live in New York but they’re on the road all the time, there should be at least a dozen full-time writers.”

“We are looking at money stories, anything unconscionable about the money, as it is important to these campaigns; each of them will spend about a billion dollars on each side. We looked at the big donors, big donors from Macau gambling in LA, should they have poured in quite a bit of money in after primary for Romney, that’s been a huge story for us,” said Apcar.

Apcar said The New York Times traditionally had been in-depth in covering the election,“We have done long pieces, and daily reporting on these big issues, such as bailouts, Ohio voters, housing policies, banking policies,” he said.

“I would like The New York Times, both online and in print, to be authoritative. You can Google healthcare policy, Obama, Romney, and I’d like you to go to our stuff as it was probably more thorough, more authoritative,” said Apcar.

As these award-winning newspapers work on their reporting, it is obvious that they would like to maintain their journalistic principles as well as their credibility.

Pulitzer-Prize winning newspapers focus on investigative reporting

Our Voice Nov Issue P.15

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A campaigner who loves doing her bit

By Jennifer Tang

We met Judith Ritter at the landmark restaurant Ben’s Chili Bowl in the Shaw neighborhood in northwest D.C., which is also a significant place for the civil rights movement and a historically African-American neighborhood.

Ritter, a former McGill University professor and now a freelance journalist and producer based in Montreal, Canada, is a volunteer for Obama’s campaign this year. She volunteers out of the Virginia office and started in September. She’s no newbie when it comes to campaign volunteering.

In Obama’s 2008 campaign four years ago she walked house to house, knocking on doors. This time she’s working the phones and sharing her views with young journalists such as ourselves. “I’m like a worker bee … but I think every single thing I do matters, and I hope what I can do helps in the campaign, ” says Ritter amidst the back chatter of a packed Ben’s Chili Bowl. Her experience as a journalist has helped the campaign too, especially when it comes to training fellow volunteers. She teaches them the art of making campaign calls and shares persuasion techniques.

“It’s just like marketing. You call the right people at the right time and say the right words to the person. On some occasions, if the volunteers are doctors or people that are of certain professions, I will suggest that they identify themselves in the conversation as it gives them even better credentials.”

Ritter soon headed back to Canada where she will watch the results from afar. Although she can’t be certain her tactics will get Obama elected, she said she loved the camaraderie of the volunteer community.

A Campaigner who loves doing her bit

Our Voice Nov Issue, P.16

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Media companies share their campaign coverage strategies

Our Voice reporters, Phoebe Chau, Ryan Fung, Edith Leung, Jennifer Tang, Wendy Chan and Karen Chan, caught up with various media. In the age of Google, Facebook and blogs, the media competition for the audience is fierce, especially during a major event such as a presidential election. Just days before the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election we met with several top news organizations in the U.S. to ask them how they geared up for the big day.

Q: How do you use social media to cover the election?

Haley Crum
Interactivity Producer, 

The Washington Post
The Washington Post: 

When social media first became big, people use it just to push out contacts. But now you have to engage to your audience and create a sense of a community. So now we interact with them a lot. We also see it as a news gathering tool, like if there is a rally, we may ask what they think about it, and ask them to send us photos and videos. We have all these people out there to help us, and we have to utilize them, as they will be the first people to arrive at the scene.

Q: How will you cover this Election?
Emily Dagger,
Audience & Station 

Partnership Associate (Central),
National Public Radio

National Public Radio:

We have Studio 4A set up to cover the Presidential Election, so next Tuesday (November 6) there will be reporters, correspondents, staff, digital service people, bloggers and others at all these different tables around the room. Everyone monitoring either feeds from different states or results from the other networks and, international and national broadcasters reporting things if CNN has information we don’t.

Jody Brannon,
Executive Editor, 

The National Journal

Q: How will you cover this Election?

The National Journal:

We are looking at how diversity in America is changing policies and politics. As an election challenge, we are now trying to build charts and maps, looking at pretty exclusively people of color who are running for Congress. That’s going to show us over time how our nation is becoming much more a melting pot, balancing the minority and majority.

Media companies share their campaign coverage strategies

Our Voice Nov Issue, P.17

Monday, November 12, 2012

A memorable experience with Voice of America

By Jennifer Tang

As I arrived at 330 Independence Avenue Southwest, Washington, D.C., I said to myself, “this is the place where I am going to have a short internship”. After the security check and taking the escalator to the second floor, I stepped in to the Voice of America’s Chinese branch.

It was extraordinary, as I had fl own all the way from Hong Kong to D.C. Thanks to HKSYU‘s journalism department, I was able to have a short internship, with this government funded multimedia broadcaster.

VOA is different from newsrooms in Hong Kong. People here are more diversified, and are given more freedom to complete their tasks, as well as pitching story ideas. I was responsible for managing social media, helping to promote programs to their target audience: people in China The most unforgettable moment would be November 6 – election night. I followed an experienced reporter all the way to Richmond, Virginia, to observe the Democrats’ party. I witnessed Barack Obama’s victory, as well as the passion of Americans in politics.

This experience has inspired me to pursue a career overseas.

A memorable experience with Voice of America

Our Voice Nov Issue, P.17

Friday, November 02, 2012

A morning with ‘The Washington Post’: From print to digital

By Jennifer Tang

As journalism students in Hong Kong, we haven’t had the chance to see inside a foreign newsroom. That changed on Thursday morning, when we were very lucky to get a glimpse inside The Washington Post, and see how this Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper operates.

First, we observed that the working hours of a U.S. newsroom is quite different from those in Hong Kong. Staff at The Washington Post start very early in the morning (many of them at 9 am), and typically get off work at around 6:30 pm on a usual day. This is not atypical of media in the U.S. Journalists in Hong Kong usually start in the afternoon and stay until midnight, which is when stories are completed and the newspaper is ready to go to print.

Although the media in the U.S. and Hong Kong are both moving towards digitalization, they are doing so very differently. Hong Kong newspapers are moving online and incorporating more multimedia elements such as video to their reporting, but most of the newspapers don’t have their own studio and produce their own programs. In contrast, The Washington Post has their own studio for recording short videos and programs. They even have a team that specializes and focuses on social media. Impressive stuff.

“We manage Twitter accounts, the Facebook page, GooglePlus, and produce all the Google hangouts,” said Hayley Crum, engagement producer at The Washington Post. “At first when social media became kind of big, people just pushed out content. (They were essentially saying) this is what we have, here’s the link to it, and we hope you’ll click on it. But it’s not enough anymore, you really have to engage your audience and create a sense of community, and it’s like they have to be invested in your journalism, so now we interact with them a lot and we try to retweet people or give them a shout out.”

“We also use it as a news gathering tool, so a lot of our reporters will tell readers, ‘If you are at a certain place, tell us what you were thinking, send us photos and videos.’ Now we have all these readers who help us (provide content), and we are going to utilize this (material) and be the first people to publish it,” Crum said.

The visit to The Washington Post was an eye-opening experience. I came away thinking that the media in the U.S. is overall more sophisticated, and they are serious about moving from the paper/traditional media to digital.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy overtakes election coverage

By Jennifer Tang

We are quite used to typhoons in Hong Kong, but we have never experienced a “Frankenstorm” or “superstorm” like Sandy before. And, truthfully, we feel it’s a bit unfortunate that the storm is coming to Washington, D.C., after we traveled all the way from Hong Kong. Still, we are treating this as a sort of extraordinary experience for us all.

The Metro and other public transit are closed, so are schools, and federal government services. It seems like the situation is pretty bad. Before things got worse, we rushed to McDonald’s to grab some food. After, we walked to the CVS pharmacy, and that’s when we experienced the strength and power of Sandy.

Heavy rainfall, strong winds, falling leaves, trees being taken down etc — that’s the power of what some in the media call the Frankenstorm. Some of our umbrellas even broke in the storm.

It’s a pity we cannot do much under such a situation, but hopefully the storm will soon be gone, and fine weather will return so that we go back to election-related stories.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Conversation with an Indian American on UA862

By Jennifer Tang

During Flight UA862 from Hong Kong to San Francisco on October 27, I met an Indian-American businessman. He and his family are immigrants. He has been living in San Francisco for over 17 years, and his brother is living in New Jersey.

We started chatting for a bit. It was quite interesting to get his viewpoints on the U.S. presidential election.

“Two of my colleagues are Democrats, and one ended up voting for President Obama while the other one voted for Romney,” he said.

“Why would your colleague who is a Democrat vote for Romney?” I asked.

“You know what? Sometimes people participate in those party activities, and during the activities  the party people ask you to do so and so, or not to do so and so. However, in this kind of situation, it will upset their supporters as well. My colleague participated in these kind of activities, and what the people in the Democratic Party asked him to do upset him. That’s why he didn’t vote for President Obama,” he explained.

As our conversation went on, I asked who is he going to vote for, and why would he make such a choice. He said he is still undecided, and he will have to go through all the news on the presidential election to acquire more knowledge and updates.

“In the U.S. the media has their own stance. It is somewhat clear that some media lean Republican and some media are Democratic.Therefore, I wouldn’t just read the news from a particular media. I will try to Google the news, and try to read as many as possible. The news there are from different media, so I would have a better idea on what’s going on,” he said.

“Especially if you look into those reviews or comments below the news articles. Some of them support the Republicans, and some of them support the Democrats. It would then be easier for me to identify what side the media supports as well,” he said.

It was interesting to have such a conversation even before we started the trip, which gave me a glimpse of how Americans view this presidential election. I am certainly looking forward to have more conversations with ordinary Americans as a way of cultural exchange.

Monday, October 15, 2012

U.S. Presidential Election 2012 – HKSYU Student Journalist Educational Reporting Trip

Attn: News and Education Editors/Journalists
For Immediate Release

U.S. Presidential Election 2012: 
HKSYU Student Journalist Educational Reporting Trip
Cultural, knowledge and educational exchange, and oh yes the U.S. Presidential Election

HONG KONG, October 15 --- Hong Kong Shue Yan University’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication has organized its first U.S. reporting trip, “The U.S. Presidential Election 2012: HKSYU Student Journalist Educational Reporting Trip."

The University is sponsoring six students to go to Washington D.C. to cover the U.S. Presidential Elections 2012. The students will be observing senior journalists at news organizations including the Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, and will also be visiting leading news outlets such as Politico, The National Journal and CCTV.

The trip aims to help students gain valuable experience in reporting overseas, and encourage young and aspiring journalists in Hong Kong to better understand foreign culture and international affairs. Below please find the details of the trip:

Date: October 27 – November 8, 2012
Participants: Six journalism students from HKSYU
Sponsor: Hong Kong Shue Yan University, Department of Journalism and Communication
Hosts: Voice of America, Radio Free Asia and American University

  • Following VOA and RFA senior reporters to observe the 2012 U.S. Presidential Election and cover stories
  • Visit local media including National Public Radio, Politico, National Journal, CCTV Washington DC Bureau etc.
  • Participate in academic discussion with American University

We believe the trip is significant to higher education in Hong Kong as well as the media industry in this region. We would like to invite you to cover stories about our trip. We will be sending out information concerning the trip soon. For media enquiries and interviews, please contact:

Amy Wu
Lecturer and trip leader
Department of Journalism and Communication, HKSYU

Jennifer Tang
Student Media Representative
Hong Kong Shue Yan University


致 教育版/港聞版 編輯、記者:
新聞稿 即時發佈

六名學生親赴美國採訪 進行文化、知識及學術交流 

香港,2012年10月15日 --- 香港樹仁大學新聞與傳播系將於本月舉辦首屆「美國總統大選2012:香港樹仁大學學生記者採訪團」,資助六名學生遠赴美國華盛頓,親身採訪是次美國大選選情。獲校方資助的六名學生將參與美國媒體美國之音(VOA)及自由亞洲電台(RFA)有關總統大選之採訪,同時參觀當地媒體如Politico、National Journal、中央電視臺華盛頓分局等。


日期: 2012年10月27日至11月8日
參與學生名單: 六名香港樹仁大學新聞與傳播系學生
資助機構: 香港樹仁大學新聞與傳播系
合作機構: 美國之音、自由亞洲電臺及美利堅大學
  • 參與美國新聞機構美國之音(VOA)及自由亞洲電台(RFA)採訪美國總統大選
  • 參觀當地新聞機構,包括全國公共廣播電臺(NPR)、Politico、National Journal、中央電視臺華盛頓分局等
  • 與美利堅大學(American University)分享採訪 
此教育交流團是本地大學首次資助學生赴美進行採訪,學生將透過在觀察當地專業記者及參與採訪而獲得更多的新聞採訪技巧,為培養香港的新聞傳播人才立下里程碑。 本校現邀請傳媒採訪及報道是次交流團事宜,加深大眾對本地新聞學系發展的認識。


吳筱玫 (Amy Wu)

鄧頴姿 (Jennifer Tang)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Under the Radar: Investigating the world of illegal guesthouses

This piece has won the Best in News Writing Merit in the First Annul Campus Newspapers Contest held by China Daily Hong Kong.

By Jennifer Tang

My journey into the underworld of illegal guesthouses in Hong Kong begins at Man Wah Sun Chuen, a private housing estate built in the 1960s in Jordan, Kowloon.

Man Wah Sun Chuen located near Jordan
has eight blocks, which were built in 1965
I am meeting Teresita – an employee of Hong Kong Suite Apartment, a company that leases out short-term accommodation in Hong Kong and Taiwan – who greets me before taking me to the 18th floor of the Man King Building. As the lift only goes to the 16th floor, we have to walk up the stairs, which are littered with dead insects.

“How long will you be staying? The cleaning service is scheduled for every Wednesday,” Teresita says. “The key in silver is the gate key, and the one in black is the key to the door. You only need to put the keys inside the room upon checkout, and the door will lock itself.”

When she opens the gates there are two doors, which means it is subdivided into two flats. She hands me the key, I open a door, and I find myself inside a suspected unlicensed guesthouse.

A greater problem

Man Wah Sun Chuen is among a growing number of suspected unlicensed guesthouses, where property owners rent flats daily without a license issued by the Office of the Licensing Authority (OLA) under the Home Affairs Department.

Business is seeing an uptick with the influx of visitors from mainland China and the rising number of expectant mainland mothers. According to the Tourism Commission, in 2011 Hong Kong received a record-high 42 million visitors from around the world, an increase of 16.4 per cent over 2010. And mainland visitors account for 67 per cent of all arrivals.

Statistics from the Office of the Licensing Authority show that 427 premises were involved in the complaints received on suspected unlicensed guesthouses in 2011, which was 75 per cent more than in 2010. As of February 28 this year, 120 premises were involved and experts forecast that this will only increase.

Although unlicensed guesthouses are less expensive than licensed hotels, they pose potential health and safety risks. Jennifer Chow Kit-bing, an Eastern District councilor, said private residents had complained to her office about security concerns.

“Residents have reported that strangers with luggage enter their residential building using entrance keys or the security code. They suspect that some flats are operating as illegal hostels, and feel insecure as different people are coming in every day and invading the residential area,” said Chow.

Mr Chan, who has been living in Man Wah Sun Chuen for more than 20 years, has seen a growing number of strangers entering his building.

An apartment is subdivided into two flats
Unlicensed guesthouses also pose safety issues such as fires. In 2009, a fire broke out at the Hai Phong Mansion in Tsim Sha Tsui, and a tourist died of smoke inhalation. Authorities later found that the tourist was staying in an unlicensed guesthouse.

"Unlicensed guesthouses have not been inspected, so they may not comply with structural and fire safety standards in the building and fire services ordinances. People’s safety in these buildings are at risk,” said Yu Tak-cheung, chief officer of the Licensing Authority.

Yu said the department had made the rules clear. “To encourage tourists to patronize licensed hostels and guesthouses, we have been displaying banners and posters at major immigration control points, and areas with more suspected unlicensed guesthouses,” Yu said. “We have also uploaded the full list of licensed hotels and guesthouses on our website.”

The OLA will carry out stringent inspections and step up publicity, Yu said.

Myself as a guest

To better understand how an unlicensed guesthouse can put visitors’ lives at risk, I went undercover as a renter. First, I went online and searched for accomodations.
Residents' personal belongings
fill the housing estate corridors

On the Hong Kong Suite Apartment’s website, I called Carlson, who identified himself as a Taiwanese and the flat owner, and I asked how much a room would cost for five nights. He showed me a flat in Man Wah Sun Chuen, and wanted to confirm my booking with a HK$3,100 rental fee and a HK$1,000 deposit. He also gave me the number for Teresita, who would help me check in.

On check-in day, I met Teresita on the ground floor of the Man King Building. “Here is the security code of the building, and you are staying on the 18th floor. The highest level that the lift can reach is the 16th floor, so you need to walk up two floors.” she said.

Even though it was early in the morning, the staircase was dim and slippery on the way up. When I entered the 200 square foot space on the 18th floor, I saw a tiny living room with a television. On the right, there was a double bed, and on the left a kitchenette with an induction hotplate and microwave oven. The 25 square foot bathroom had a shower, but even when the exhaust fan was turned on the smell of urine and garbage was strong. The shower floor was also littered with dead bugs.

Even though the interior is adequately furnished and appeared tidy and clean, the common areas, such as the staircase and the corridor, are dark and dimly lit. And giving guests the building’s security code puts the safety of private residents at risk.

At the end of this experience, I learned a valuable lesson. The pictures posted online of these guesthouses should always be double checked in person. It was only when I witnessed first-hand what these unlicensed guesthouses were like did I truly understand their potential dangers, and why they are a blemish on Hong Kong’s reputation as an international city.

All prices are in HKD.  *quoted from priceline com hk
**quotes from at unspecified venues

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bauhinia Magazine chief editor reveals the key to gain recognition from readers

Photo from HKNEWS
By Jennifer Tang

A magazine should have its own character and style in order to gain recognition from its readers and the publics, said chief editor at Bauhinia Magazine Liu Wen-zhong. 

Liu believes that it is of paramount importance for a magazine operator and its staff to have a good grasp on current affairs and events, as well as things happen around, so as to produce a comprehensive reporting. 

"Distinguish features of a magazine depend on four elements in their reporting: newness, depth, speciality and accuracy in reporting. These four elements are the basics for a successful magazine, as well as or any other media," said Liu. 

He explained, "newness refers to creativity. Journalists must be able to discover new stories for readers, they have to stay creative in order to interest readers." 

Liu further explained, in-depth reporting requires analytical and persuasive skills in the story, while a special point of view is the key point in a commentary article. He stressed that stories in magazine should report on the facts and only the facts.  

Liu pointed out that magazine like Bauhinia Magazine has put emphasis on five key areas in order to keep it sustainable. 

He said, "content of the magazine is usually provided by an authoritative and influential source in order to convince readers. At the same time, the magazine has the ability to report on the results of major events such as the olympic accurately."  

Liu noted that a magazines should also be able to observe trends in society so as to keep readers updated. 

He continued that a magazine should have the ability to uncovering issues and work on own investigative stories in order to bring exclusive information to its readers. 

"Most of all, a magazine should be readers-oriented and has the ability to attract new readers in order to make it sustainable," said Liu.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tightening of restrictions by State agency threatens China's television industry

Photo from HKNEWS
By Jennifer Tang

Recent restrictions commenced by State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) on broadcasting of television programs have put constraints on television program production and had a great impact on both Hong Kong and Taiwan TV stars, said experienced television program producer Ng Yu. 

In July 2011, the SARFT initiated a policy to limit the number of entertainment programs, such as reality shows or contests program, to be aired on television. According to the policy, satellite TV should not broadcast more than two entertaining program per week, and the length of each show should not exceed 90 minutes. 

SARFT further extended their restrictions on broadcasting media this past January. They expressed disapproval of time-travel television drama which often involve a modern-day protagonist propels back into a dynastic era, and stated that at least half of satellite television dramas must be set in the modern day. 

Ng believes that these policies put constraints on the creation and production of television programs. 

“Before the commence of the policy, there were already many cases where television programs were forced to stop broadcasting as they have created a stir within the public, or being widely discussed among the public,” said Ng. 

Ng explained, “For example, the TV drama series Meteor Garden from Taiwan was forced to be off-the-air as the public thought it was too sensational and unethical, and believed that this will bring negative impacts on youngsters.” 

Ng said that these polices restricted program producers’ creativity, and “these policy would make the situation worse as they limited the freedom in non-political related programs”. 

“Many Hong Kong and Taiwan artists participated actively in the mainland’s broadcasting media industry and gained much popularity among the audience in China. These policies restricted the types of program to be aired, and put to a halt to Hong Kong and Taiwan artists’ participation in the Mainland television industry,” said Ng. 

Ng said, “I don’t feel optimistic to the Mainland’s television industry if freedom continues to be cut off, hopefully the government could loosen their restrictions.”

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

SCMP Editor: mobile journalism offers both good and bad consequence

Photo from HKNEWS
By Jennifer Tang

The uprising of mobile journalism contributes lots to media industry, yet at the same time brings threats to the industry, said Stephen Quinn, Digital Development Editor at South China Morning Post. 

Quinn said that the influx of smartphones and new mobile network plans bring convenience to journalists, as journalists nowadays can simply complete their reporting with the all-in-one device in their hand. 

“Journalists in the past used to do their live broadcasting with many devices such as the hand-held cameras, microphones, and notepad. There’s no doubt that journalists benefited from the invention of all-in-one cellphone as they no longer need to have many equipment in hand at a time. This also greatly reduced the cost of journalism,” said Quinn. 

He said the mobility of journalism increased due to the uprising of mobile journalism. “Reporters can do their reporting immediately if they see big news happening around, and they can post their news story to the web immediately, spreading the news at a faster pace,” said Quinn. 

Quinn continued, “the accessibility and handiness of mobiles provided opportunities for citizen journalism; everyone can turn themselves into reporter and write news stories anytime, anywhere.” 

He believes that professional journalists should differentiate themselves from citizen reporters by “bringing newsworthy stories to audiences but not ordinary stories, and at the same time uphold professionalism and journalistic ethics.” 

Quinn pointed out that mobility of journalism is a double edged sword as it not only bring benefits and at the same time causes threats to individual privacies. 

“You have no idea when you will be filmed by others. There have been cases where people in public were being recorded in videos and posted online. Laws concerning privacy definitely require revision so as to protect citizens’ privacy in a better way.” said Quinn. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Professional journalists should excel others by adding values to news, says Thomson Reuters China Chairman

Photo from HKNEWS
By Jennifer Tang

Everyone can be a reporter and professional journalists should differentiate themselves from civic reporters by adding values to news, according to Thomson Reuters China Chairman David Schlesinger. 

Schlesinger believes that the research done by LinkedIn, which sates the newspaper industry shrunk by 28.4% in the past five years and is the fastest shrinking industry in the United States, is to indication that journalism profession around the world is not very healthy. 

He urged journalism undergraduates and young journalists to rethink their image of the industry and be prepared to confront the upcoming challenges. 

“There are all kinds of new journalism out there. Twitter, Weibo, Facebook etc. All these are new channels and there are numerous people, who have the right to call themselves journalists, competing with professional journalists in the marketplace. Professionals need to differentiate themselves from civic reporters and add value to themselves,” said Schlesinger. 

Schlesinger pointed out that professional journalists should always keep in mind three fundamental things: journalistic ethics and disciplines, professional skills and the nobility of journalism. He believes that these are some keys that sets apart a real professional journalist from civic reporters. 

“Journalists are no longer the master of facts, they lost their control of facts,” said Schlesinger. He further explained, “journalists are no longer the first one to report on breaking news, witnesses at the scene do the reporting instead by uploading text and photos to the internet. Therefore, journalists need to do more in order to surpass others.” 

Schlesinger continued, “journalists have to do more. They have to analyse and have to be able to add value to news.” He pointed out that journalists should focus on speed, exclusivity, style, ubiquity and expertise while reporting in order to uphold their professionalism. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

More efforts from the government are needed, says former Secretary for Security

Photo from HKNEWS
By Jennifer Tang

Hong Kong Government should continue improving local population policy, public’s engagement as well as working on a common goal for Hong Kong citizens, said former Secretary for Security Peter Lai.

Peter Lai pointed out that population policy has great impact on society, and it is of paramount importance for both the existing and future government to optimize it.

“Birth rate in Hong Kong has been increasing, yet most of these newborns’ parents are not Hong Kong citizens but rather mainland Chinese. This causes a heavy burden on local welfare and we definitely need to find a way out,” said Lai.

Lai continued, “the government should confront the problem and tackle it, this is not only the responsibility of the existing government, but also that of the future government.”

He also mentioned that the government should “enhance public engagement, as this is significant to the implementations and amendments of future polices.”

“Even though there are several channels provided to citizens to voice their opinions, efforts are still needed in encouraging them to tell us what they are thinking,” said Lai.

He believes that the government could only draft and implement a policy smoothly if it has taken everyone into account, which means opinion from the publics should be taken into consideration.

“Hong Kong will have a bright future only when we, the Hong Kong citizens, have developed a common goal, and pledge to work to reach the goal,” said Lai.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Community Chest calls for donations

Photo from HKNEWS
By Jennifer Tang

There are over 1.26 million people living in poverty in Hong Kong, and we definitely need more donations, said The Community Chest Community Relations Manager Louie Hang-shan Tong yesterday.

Tong said that there are many needy in Hong Kong and The Community Chest subsidize their member social welfare agencies with the funds they have in order to help all those people in need.

“We currently have over 150 member social welfare agencies, which include the Hong Kong Red Cross, Caritas Hong Kong, and Salvation Army etc. They cover around 2,360 service spots in Hong Kong, and this enables them to reach millions of people in need,” said Tong.

Tong stressed that the administrative cost of The Community Chest is subsidized by The Hong Kong Jockey Club. She pointed out that The Community Chest is one of the very few fund-raising organization in the world that can assure “100% of the funds raised are allocated to beneficiaries without deducting any administrative expenses.”

Tong said, “in order to help the disadvantaged, our fund-raising target of the current year is around HKD 245 million, and we are working very hard to meet our target.”

She further continued, “we are calling for donations. Everyone is welcome to participate in our voluntary work, or to make donations to The Community Chest. We are more than happy to have you joining us.”

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Inept handling of crisis is understandable for Tang’s case, says experienced media specialist

Photo from HKNEWS
By Jennifer Tang

Henry Tang Ying-yen pressed ahead with his election campaign and submitted 379 nominations to the Election Committee for the Chief Executive election last week, despite the latest report of marital infidelity and illegal structures. Tang's public relations representatives handled the issues poorly, but that's understandable since many local PR practitioners are unfamiliar with confronting politicians' PR duties, said experienced media specialist Lai Man-cheuk yesterday.

Lai commented that Tang's public relations representatives have handled the crises ineptly, yet he believes that they should not be blamed since the locals are relatively green to the current political environment.

"Tang's PR failed in managing crises and causes Tang's integrity to be further questioned by the public. However, it is understandable for the poor management since the local political environment is still immature, and it is expected that people are not familiar with political tricks," said Lai.

Lai believes that the key to successful crisis management is the maximization of "time and space". "All crises bring loss. What we should do is to lengthen the time we have and try to solve the problems with a clear mind. No matter what tactics were used to deal with the issues, honesty is always of paramount importance," said Lai.

Lai further explained, "No matter under what circumstances, people should think of the consequences of every act when their dealing with crisis. 'Blaming Tang's wife' is definitely not a good way in dealing with Tang's cases. The PR representatives should aim at minimizing the loss brought by the cases, as well as upholding the reputation of Tang at the same time."

Lai said that the immaturity of local political environment brought constrains to Tang's PR in handling political crisis. He continued, "In the contrary, Taiwan's President Election in mid-Jan this year was mature. It is not hard to notice the evolution of their political environment. It is possible that one day, Hong Kong could establish a fair, open and mature political environment. Under such circumstances, PR practitioners would be given a more favorable environment."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Revolution in local TV industry is going to begin, says Ricky Wong

Photo from HKNEWS
By Jennifer Tang

Though the government has not yet issued the free-to-air TV license to applicants, one of the new entrants to the TV industry, City Telecom (CTI), has started preparing itself the for coming keen competition. “We are starting a revolution and will bring an end to the duopoly,” said Chainman of the City Telecom (HK) Ltd Ricky Wong.

The new entrant CTI has been giving recruitment talks to local universities since early February, aiming at hiring capable and passionate graduates to join their new TV station. Wong said that they aimed at hiring around 700 staff this year, and they have currently employed over 180 staff, where most of they are from the local TV station TVB.

Wong pointed out that local TV stations offered comparatively low pay to producers and script writers. Also, they limited their creativity in production. He stressed that the new TV station run by CTI would be totally different.

“We offer producers and script writers with better pay, since we understand how important they are to a TV station’s production. We are introducing a new hierarchy to the TV station. Unlike the other TV station (TVB), we would not restrict producers and script writers on the topics of their productions. We encourage them to use their imagination and creativity, and they are free to bring up innovative ideas,” said Wong.

Local TV programmes have always been criticized for their lack of creativity and being the copycats of foreign TV programmes. Wong believes that under the new hierarchy, programmes being produced would be of higher quality, and this would led to a revolution of TV industry under the keen competition. He expressed his confidence for his new TV station and believes that they can outshine the other competitors.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New free-to-air TV stations end duopoly and bring positive impacts

Photo from HKNEWS
By Jennifer Tang

Newcomers could end the duopoly long held by two major TV stations and bring positive impacts to current market, said former CBS Managing Director Ho Yuet-fung.

Ho believes that the local free-to-air TV market is not yet saturated and has no doubts the market can support more new entrants.

“Not only has the local population increased, but also has the market,” Ho said. She said that the market is expending and audiences are no longer restricted to locals, but also those in mainland China and other countries.

Ho pointed out that it is very common seeing local TV programmes aired in China and TV stations from mainland join hands with local TV stations in production of TV programmes.

“In fact, popularity of Hong Kong artists in China market is part of the reasons that causes the expansion in market. There’s no doubt the market can support more new entrants,” said Ho.

As three new entrants seek to join the fray, it is expected that audiences would be further fragmentized and the competition is keen.

“Competition is certainly a good thing,” said Ho. She further explained, “the two TV stations have been duopolizing the local market over the past decades. As newcomers join in, all the TV stations would have to seize audiences to be any competition, which means there’s the need for programmes of higher quality.”

Local TV programmes have always been criticized for lack of creativity and being the copycat of foreign TV programmes. Ho believes that with the entrance of new TV stations, there would be a stronger competition as it could motivate script writers and producers to do their job better.

“Newcomers started poaching experienced and talented people from the two major TV stations; this created another competition in retaining staff and recruiting new talents,” said Ho. This is obviously a good thing as well, since it created new career opportunities, she said.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

TV and movie producers no longer monopolize the market, says global media specialist

Photo from HKNEWS
By Jennifer Tang

Rapid development of technologies has forced many industries to reshape themselves. Invention of the internet has pitched the television broadcasting industry to a new era and practitioners must try hard to catch up, former Managing Director of the CBS Broadcasting International Asia Inc. Ho Yuet- Fung said yesterday.

The internet has been commonly used by individual users since 90s as free web rowers were introduced. Since then, behaviors and habits of audiences have changed. “Practitioners are now harder to control their audiences, they need to catch up quickly in order to keep themselves survive,” said Ho.

Ho continued, “Since the internet has developed, individual users are no longer the message receiver, but also the message sender and producers. If audiences do not like the content provided by TV stations or movie makers, they can now reject it and produce their own contents. Competitors are now everywhere to be seen.”

Since technologies develop rapidly, the cost of film making and TV drama production has been lowered. Individual users can produce their own programme and distribute through their own channels. “Everyone can make their own website and produce their own programmes; everyone can be the host as well as the promoter,” said Ho.

“Television stations can no longer monopolize the market. More and more people are producing their own drama and movies, and these productions do receive high click rates and gain lots of audiences,” said Ho.

Ho believes that talents are everywhere and competition is keen in current market. “Look at those online TV websites, look at YouTube. One doesn’t need to work under big corporations in order to reach its audiences. Practitioners need to put more efforts in creating contents, the resources and supports from corporation are no longer the advantages that they can reply on,” said Ho.

Ho regards the entrance of new comers beneficial to the market as this creates a positive competition. She urges current producers to focus on the creation of scripts and programme contents in order to keep themselves survive.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Fiscal budget lacks long-term vision, says experienced financial commentator

Photo from HKNEWS
By Jennifer Tang

The 2012/13 Budget has been under criticism since it was delivered by Financial Secretary John Tsang last Wednesday. Though the budget may have doled out sweeteners to different parties, it lacks long-term vision and creativity, an experienced financial commentator said yesterday.

The fiscal budget announced last Wednesday includes a variety of relief measures to help the middle class and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which worth approximately HKD 80 billion. The dishing out of sweeteners is welcomed by citizens, yet experienced financial commentator Chiu Sun Chun doubts the effectiveness of such handout.

“These one-off relief measures wouldn’t help much, they could only ease the pressure of residents and business during this hard time, yet Hong Kong’s deep-rooted problems remain unsolved,” said Chiu.

Chiu pointed out that many problems were deeply seated in Hong Kong. The budget should not only put its main focus on solving short-term issues, but also seek for solutions in dealing with those inherent problems.

“Making through the worsening economic condition is of paramount importance, what the government should do is to find ways to fuel our economic growth. The budget is way too conservative and short-sighted. The government should set up more research and development projects so to establish new industries that will boost our economy and solve the deep-rooted problems,” Chiu said.

Chiu commented that the fiscal budgets announced before 1997, when Hong Kong was still a British colony, consist of long-term visions and plans which truly helped the city’s development. However, as Hong Kong was returned to China by the British, policies and budgets have become more short-sighted and conventional. As the government will soon be handed over to the next Chief Executive, Chiu hopes that Hong Kong could become more vibrant city under the leadership of the new cabinet.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

‘Government should grant domestic helpers the right of abode without any hesitation’, says Cardinal Zen

Photo from HKNEWS
By Jennifer Tang

Equality has always been one of the core values of Hong Kong society, yet retired Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-Kiun pointed out that the goodness has gone. He believes that racism is still of major concern, “it’s pathetic to witness the changes in Hong Kong, especially when it comes to fighting against human right and equality. Discrimination still exists, no matter how civilized Hong Kong society is,” said Cardinal Zen. He expressed his concerns over the fight for domestic helper’s right of abode, and he believed that the Government should grant them the right without any hesitation.

Cardinal Zen was the sixth Bishop of Hong Kong and was elevated to cardinalate in 2006. He has done a lot in fighting for human rights, political freedom and religious liberty, and his sacrifices are widely recognized. “Generosity and equality have always been the core values of the Catholic Church. God made people in His image, and no one should be discriminated against,” said Cardinal Zen.

In the past few months, domestic helpers’ right of abode has been the bone of contention. Many criticized that if these domestic helpers were granted with the right of abode, Hong Kong would struggle in providing welfares and other privileges to them. Yet Cardinal Zen believes that domestic helpers deserve the right of abode, “they have shared the burdens of many local families, and have given them a helping hand. Without them, some people would have to stay at home and deal with all housework instead of going to work. These domestic helpers did contribute to the development of Hong Kong’s economy to certain extent.”

“The selfishness of Hong Kong government could apparently be seen. Government tried to take away their right, and this is obviously an unfair and discriminating act. Domestic helpers should be offered help and care from society,” said Cardinal Zen. He also believes that even some of these domestic helpers need to apply for the government’s Comprehensive Social Security Assurance, it’s still reasonable and the government should approve the application without hesitation. 

Cardinal Zen considered the application on interpretation of law from Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on right of abode in Hong Kong unreasonable. “The Basic Law stated that the Court of Final Appeal is the only court that could do the application. Such application on such issue is destructing both the judiciary system and its dependence in Hong Kong, which is in fact the core value of the one-country-two-system,” he said. He expressed his concerns over the future of Hong Kong society, and he stressed that unless the Government goes back on to the right track, society’s future is in doubt.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How Reuters’ correspondent sees his job

Photo from HKNEWS
By Jennifer Tang

After working as a presenter in television and radio stations, James Pomfret settled down in Reuters as a correspondent located in mainland China. He shared his valuable experiences with the journalism students at Hong Kong Shue Yan University earlier today, hoping that students would have passion for the industry, seek truth and tell the facts no matter under what circumstances.

James Pomfret was graduated from Southampton University in the U.K., and like many other journalism graduates, he pursued his career in the media industry. Pomfret has a multimedia background in television and radio, and in 2006, he settled down in Reuters as a foreign correspondent. 

Over the past years, Pomfret has reported on numerous major issues, which include the SARS outbreak in Hong Kong, the 2008 Olympic Game, South Korea World Cup, and the G20 Summit. Pomfret believes that the role of a correspondent is very comprehensive and challenging. 

“We are not writing for local readers, but rather an international audience. We have to take every detail into account and put sufficient information in our story, so as to let our audience to know what’s happening on the other side of the planet,” Pomfret said. 

Pomfret further revealed that the correspondent position requires a higher standard when compare with that of local media reporters. “Typically, for breaking news, we have to finish writing our story in 15 minutes, and in fact the editors mostly require an even higher speed. The pace is really fast and we have to work under lots of pressure,” he said. 

Pomfret reflected that the job, though challenging and tough, at the same time interesting and rewarding. He said, “There is great news all the time. Sometimes you have to rush around and try to write better stories. It’s very interesting and there’s lots of fun. Correspondents always have the opportunities to travel around Asia, or to other places.” 

Over these years, Pomfret has worked on different investigative reporting. One of his major piece is an investigative report on the topic “forced abortion in Guangzhou, China”, where he visited victims on the ground. He encouraged those wanna be journalists-wanna-be to go out and perform interviews on their own rather than relying on online information. 

Pomfret continued, “A source told me about the issue (forced abortion), so I did on the ground reporting. Never rely on telephone or other communication platforms apart from face-to-face interviews. You can’t see their faces and expressions, nor can you read their body language. They could be lying to you over the phone. Nothing should stop you from witnessing it, so go there and see it yourself. It’s essential.”

Pomfret expressed his views on the press freedom in Hong Kong and that in China, “Hong Kong is a very special place, since we have media freedom, it’s not like china, and we have less restriction here. But we should never take this for granted. Not every country or city has such a privilege,” said Pomfret. 

Pomfret further elaborated, “Many reporters in China have great stories, but usually it is too sensitive to have those stories published in Newspapers... We should try our very best to seek truth and tell the facts.”

Pomfret believes that journalists serve as they eyes and ears of public and society is under their surveillance. He stressed that journalist-wanna-be should have the passion for journalism, and should keep in mind that reporting must be ethical.  He encouraged students to get more exposure before they graduate, “anything is possible. You can start local; you can start writing in Chinese. Just take chances and get as much experience as possible. Be passionate, be ethical, seek truth, and tell the facts and only facts.”