Team Member: Cal Wong, Joyce LIU Chenyang, Alice Du See Kee, Fred Yang Maolin.
Hong Kong’s 2-month long pro-democracy movement has just ended. Throughout the whole process, we, Master of Journalism Students at The University of Hong Kong, fully engaged in reporting this event. Videos, articles, photographs, and social media are our main tools to cover this event.
We encountered many critical issues, tried to maneuver around and learn from them.
Joyce LIU Chenyang preferred the use of video to record and explore these events. She tackled the problem of getting permission from the parents of a 17-year-old pro-democracy protester who was featured in a documentary commissioned by MSNBC.
Joyce believes that journalists must strictly follow media law as it is the best way to protect the interviewees and journalists themselves. She also confronted the ethical issue of using hidden cameras for her work. A hidden camera is helpful to disclose more facts to the audience, however it is a highly contentious tool and presents a multitude of ethical problems especially in the context of Chinese Nationals. Joyce has not found the proper solution for this particular problem.
Calford Cheuk-ngai WONG focused on both editorial and video media in his reporting. During his time as a Master of Journalism student at The University of Hong Kong, he experienced a number of issues relating to reporting and writing. On occasions, Cal was faced with the prospect of choosing personal relationships or reporting the facts accurately, oftentimes this led to making compromises on both ends.
Another unique problem that Cal encountered on the front lines of the Umbrella Movement, was being a student journalist as well as a freelance journalist for international news agencies. There were issues of identity, not only introspectively, but also to the public. At times this created tension with the authorities when trying to gain access to restricted areas.
Alice DU See Kee specialised in writing to report about the current affairs. She faced several dilemmas in reporting about Occupy Central movement for the past few months. She adhered to journalistic principles at all times and realised that sometimes reporters did not have much say about the final product but to follow the decision of the news organisation.
Alice knows that objectiveness is the core principle of journalism. She believes that journalists should stay neutral and therefore should not express their feelings in any social media platform. However, the reality is that not many journalists are aware that their physical appearances will affect the public perception towards the reporter and the news organisation. Alice discovers that what she learned from class did not always reflect the reality but she will try her best to follow the fundamental of good journalism.
Fred Maolin YANG worked as journalist in both Hong Kong and mainland. He got experience in mainland media and knew how the censorship affected the news agencies. Through years experiences in both mainland and Hong Kong, he got preliminary understanding of media operation of both sides. In mainland, the news contents are strictly controlled by the Radio and TV Bureau, especially the negative news. There were several times that upper department required the news agency to reduce negative reports when he was there. However, when the policy direction was not that intense, the TV would also report some critical news about existing social problems. From this he learned that the media independence in the mainland is not very high, but it doesn’t mean that the media should lose their faith. Actually it is also a requirement for media workers to work under different environments and given constrains. While in Hong Kong, he felt more business climate and its influence on Hong Kong’s media. Endowed with more freedom of speech, there arise some stunt-oriented media as Apple Daily. The media industry in Hong Kong is mature but still needs improvement and innovation.
Knowing the constraints of media industry, Fred is more interesting in individual’s feature stories under different circumstances. He finally found the joy of journalism is not always be critical and fight against someone, journalist can also be a friend, a communicator and a listener. Everyone has his own past and thus made him unique. Everyone is worth talking to and get wisdom and experience from. Also these people often gives brand new perspective to the boarder topic or the latest news.