One of the best things about studying Global Business Journalism at Tsinghua is that I get to meet a lot of experienced professionals from different industries. On Dec 18, we had Ed Wong, who is a very experienced journalist from the New York Times as a guest speaker.
During the lecture, he talked about his work experiences, difficulties he faced as a journalist and how he ended up getting to China. Since he started working in China, he has covered many major issues such as Sichuan earthquake, Beijing Olympics and Xinjiang and Tibet riots. He also showed one of the videos he did for the Times’ Culture and Control series which I found it very interesting. I realised that nowadays, journalists don’t just rely on written articles but also videos and audio to attract audiences. Sometimes visualisation is more effective than the written stories.
While taking Professor Breiner’s Multimedia Business Reporting class, I’ve learnt various multimedia skills that would be very useful as a business journalist. With acquired skills, I and my group members have worked hard on the final project and we presented in the class today. Although my video recording and editing skills are not very good, I still learnt a lot while doing the final project and more importantly, I very much enjoyed interviewing people.
Creating a storyboard is something I have never done before. For my final automobile multimedia project, I created a storyboard. When doing this, I had to bear in mind the theme of my project, what kinds of media elements I’m going to use and what will be the most effective way to present the project. Jane Stevens’ reading on what is a multimedia story and how to write a storyboard was very helpful when I was planning my storyboard. I feel this Multimedia Business Reporting course is like a jigsaw puzzle. Every week, I get a small piece of puzzle from the professor and put it together to complete the puzzle called ‘The Final Multimedia Project’.
Storyboard was another, yet very important piece of puzzle.
Everyday, thousands of news are written by journalists and published online and offline. It is then read by millions of audiences in the world. The question is, are these articles all reliable? Can audiences really trust what is written in the news? In general, audiences do not doubt about the credibility of newspaper articles published by major news organizations such as Bloomberg, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Thomson Reuters. However, what will happen if the audience finds out that the news he or she read is fabricated? Not only the journalist who wrote that article will get terminated, but the newspaper itself will also lose credibility. In May 2003, a former journalist at The New York Times – Jayson Blair was terminated for plagiarism and fabrication in his stories. When a journalist is mixed up in scandals like this, his or her journalism career is over.
When it comes to business journalism, journalists need to pay a special attention to accuracy and sensitivity of information because inaccurate or disclose of certain information can cause a great deal of damage to companies. Recently, I read an article on The Wall Street Journal about Mark Mahaney, a web analyst at Citigroup who got terminated for leaking nonpublic information of Facebook’s initial public offering to the media. Although this is not a case about journalist, it has some implications for journalists’ difficulty of collecting information from analysts. Mr. Mahaney shared the information which he should not have been and the consequences are; his job is lost, $2 million was fined to Citigroup and Facebook shares went down dramatically. This shows how one employee’s unethical conduct can cause such damage to himself as well as to other parties.
The article itself was interesting enough. However, what drew my attention was the title ‘Corrections & Amplifications’ at the end of the story. Apparently, there was a mistake about the date of analyst’s dismissal in the previous article, so they made a correction and added this section at the end of the story. Everyone makes mistakes but if it was left uncorrected, this article would have delivered incorrect information to audiences. The journalists took responsibility and made a correction in order to deliver accurate information and this is what ethical journalists do.
There was International Seminar of Financial Media Management and Business Journalism Education on Friday the 21st September at the Global Sources Hall. I and some of my classmates attended the seminar. When entered the room, I saw some of our professors and other attendants sitting around the long table and photographers taking pictures. And there were others taking down notes. I sat at the back and started taking down notes, too. I felt as if I’m a journalist in press conference. The speech was given in Chinese without any English translation, which made me pay very close attention to the speaker to understand what he was talking about. Once again, I was determined to study Chinese harder because in the future if I want to work in China, there will be many times I have to attend meetings in Chinese.
Attending afternoon session was optional but I decided to go since two of our visiting professors were giving speech. Professor Leslie Wayne gave introduction of Global Business Journalism program at Tsinghua University and how the increasing power of China influences the global business journalism industry. I was surprised that The New York Times now has the Chinese language version. Also, I felt privileged to be part of GBJ student since the courses here at Tsinghua are not much different from those top schools in the United States such as New York University and Columbia University.
I hope I can make the most of it while at Tsinghua.