It is Our Responsibility to Do This.

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The inaugural HKBU-SOPA Award Winners Forum was held on Nov 4-8, 2013 at Hong Kong Baptist University. As a journalism studenthere, I could not be more impressed and my horizon was expanded.

At the opening ceremony, five award winners of The Society of Publishers in Asia shared their stories. As a journalist, “you don’t get sleep, because Internet and your editors in Hong Kong and in New York made you work 24 hours a day”, as Thomas Fuller, from The New York Times said, “tired, sick or day-off, just don’t exist”.

“It is our responsibility to do this, because a Chinese colleague cannot do. When your Chinese colleagues can’t do it, you should do. We are doing this not because we have a problem to the country but because we like it”, Michael Forsythe said, who reports on Chinese politics and policy for Bloomberg News and shared how he used Chinese data to follow the money of president Xi Jin Ping’s family.

Because of publishing this report, now reporters from Bloomberg have been resisted to get into mainland, China by Chinese government. But he said, someone needs to do this to make this country better.

What I learnt is that a journalist cannot be cool but be passionate and always curious. Even though nowadays running a media was not as easy as it was, Financial Times and Bloomberg would not let the advertising department influence how their repots go, they insist in being neutral and fair to keep their credibility, as the lectures said.

On Thursday’s class we have Jamil Anderlini as our guest to share his story – how he completed his report about how Bo Xilai’s trial. He taught us how to make friends with your sources and if we really want to work as a journalist, we should “be really curious and devote your whole life to it”.

I nearly went to all the lectures except sometimes I had classes in the same time while the lectures were hold in another classroom. I heard they said they might face life-threatening situation. For example, Titthara May, who covered deforestation, land grabbing, economic land concessions and violent eviction in Cambodia, said he always received warning letters from the prime minister or senior office of Cambodia because what he wrote and got published. His friend always said that he would be killed, but he told a joke at the opening, “what a pity I am still alive”.

He said it was because if he got killed, people would know who did it and it was not good for the officers and government. Also, Jamil Anderlini said he was beaten twice but he did not really be threatened to death. He said, “being a journalist is very challenged and you know every minute something happen -and it never stops. So you never make your Heart quiet or brain stop because you need news to fulfill your spirit and your desire”.

The SOPA Workshop Forum offers us student journalists some great opportunities to get information from these senior experienced journalists, who really did excellent work. They showed us a kind of spirit and enthusiasm and it is our own will to seek what kind of journalist we would like to be.

Will I have a chance to say, “it is our responsibility to do this”?


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