JOHOR BARU: Some 60 upper Sixth and Fifth Formers from leading schools in the state capital will glean information and insights into journalism at a one-day workshop at the New York Hotel here on Aug 22.
Experienced practitioners of the craft will hold forth at the event on its basics and will also expound on its intricacies.
The workshop – The Craft of News Writing – is being organised by the Johor English Language Teaching Association (Jelta) and is sponsored by the New York Hotel and the University Book Store Malaysia.
Vincent D’Silva, president of Jelta, which has been at the forefront of promoting English language proficiency in schools in the last decade, said the aim of the workshop is to spark interest in upper secondary school students in the craft of journalism.
“The occupation excites interest, but there is little knowledge among laypeople about its goals, methods and its utility to society,” said D’Silva.
“This workshop would go some distance in telling the interested what is involved in writing the first draft of history,” he added.
In employing the phrase “first draft of history”, D’Silva was borrowing the term from Henry R. Luce, founder of Time magazine, a renowned title in the stable of influential publications which include Fortune and Life magazine, that the American founded nearly a century ago.
“Journalists write the first draft of history,” said Luce as justification for the existence and popularity of a slew of world-renowned publications that he initiated.
D’Silva will start the day-long workshop by giving an overview of the jargon of the profession which its practitioners bandy about with ease but which outsiders find mystifying.
After that introduction, a host of long-time practitioners of the craft will parlay their experience into nuggets of advice on the methods and techniques employed by journalists to convey the news on events.
Terence Netto, a journalist with nearly five decades of involvement in media, will hold forth on the 5 W’s and 1 H of the craft of news reporting.
In sum, this is simply the What, Who, When, Where, Why and How of incidents and events that are the matrix of news reporting.
This presentation will be followed by what may well be the day’s most exacting topic, which is why newspapers are necessary despite the rise of online journalism.
Rashid Yusof, an ex-group editor of the New Straits Times (NST), will tackle this subject to which he will doubtless bring his extensive experience in the fields of print and online journalism.
Keith Thong, managing director of University Book Store Malaysia, will speak on a relatively new-fangled topic which is newspaper technology in education.
Lockdowns brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic has rendered this topic urgent because the resultant closures of schools and tertiary institutions have had educationists scrambling to reach their students through online channels.
The remaining retinue of speakers, all dab hands at the professions, such as ex-The Star reporter Rizal Abdullah, will tackle sports reporting; while Ravi Nambiar, former NST Johor bureau chief, will finesse the difference between journalism and public relations. Mary Victoria, former senior journalist of Harian Metro, will shed light on whether journalism is a profession or vocation, and former NST photo journalist Kenneth Wong will explain why a good picture may be worth a thousand words.
The students are in for a day that will pique their interest and stretch their imagination.