Sport Journalists must diversify skills

By Justin Fauteux, Canadian ‘Young Reporter’ at World Student Games

SHENZHEN,  The days of being able to work as a simple beat writer, filing a nightly story are over.

With today’s prevalence of new media and instant communication, all young journalists need to have a multitude of skills. From writing, to interviewing, to photography, to videography, a journalist’s job today is anything but one-dimensional.

That was the message the AIPS-FISU young journalists received in their seminar this morning as they heard from several professionals in the Hong Kong media industry.

“In essence, you have to be a jack of all trades,” said award-winning photographer Faye Chui, with Eddie Dos Passos, a journalist with 25 years of experience, translating.

“If you don’t know, you have to learn, if you don’t learn you’re going to be out of a job.”

With convergence in skills being the main theme of the lecture, the young journalists got a few tips from veteran Hong Kong TV reporter Wendy Ha.

Canadian 'Young Reporter' Kelsey Wingerak (l) interviews veteran Hong Kong TV reporter Wendy Ha

Ha has covered five Olympic games and shared some interesting experiences, particularly when it comes to corralling athletes for interviews in mixed zones.

“When the athletes approach you have to make him notice you. I will make a really big gesture,” said Ha. “[And] sometimes physical contact is unavoidable.”

According to Ha, a journalist simply needs to be bold.

Ha told a story in which a swimmer was trying to avoid her interview after setting a world record because of a drug scandal surrounding her team.

She hopped over the media barricade, went up to the athlete and simple told her she was only going ask about what happened in the swimming pool.

The swimmer changed his mind and did the interview.

“The fear of the athletes is that you will ask them something very embarrassing,” said Ha. “Tell them that you’re not going to do that. Give him a chance to actually better the [situation] and not embarrass him.”

The young journalists then heard from Chui, Dos Passos and Esther Nam, a reporter turned public relations professional about the importance of gaining experience for a young journalist.

“You constantly have to ask questions, you have to look to your peers. If you don’t ask questions, you’ll be left out of the loop,” said Chui.

“Experience, it’s something that you earn and develop over time. The more experience you get, the better you are at it, whatever you do in this field or elsewhere,” added Dos Passos.