In January, Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) launched an MA programme in Social Sciences in Media Management. This was to anticipate the expected increase in demand for specialised skills in the corporate aspect of managing media businesses for profit.
Course director Guo Zhongshi says: "Media is a complicated business. You may think, for example, that journalists only have to report stories but, nowadays, they write to attract sales as well."
Running a successful media outlet, which can also maintain the necessary degree of objectivity and impartiality, depends on sound management. The new course therefore combines the strengths of HKBU's Schools of Communication and Business and includes, among others, comprehensive modules on media law and ethics, business policy, and corporate governance. Students receive systematic instruction in all the subjects needed to prepare them for fast-moving media careers.
The basic requirements for enrolment are to have a bachelor's degree and a genuine interest in the field. "In exceptional cases, we may also admit a few students who are media veterans with more than 10 years' experience but no previous degree," Dr Guo says. "This is because we value their experience and think they will be able to draw on their knowledge of the real working environment during their studies." He adds that the course will give recent graduates a much fuller picture of how the media industry actually operates. In doing that, it is sure to enhance their competitiveness in the job market and improve their long-term career prospects.
One student now taking the course is veteran TV journalist and anchor Chan Ho Yan.
"Already I'm learning to take a more systematic approach to management issues and seeing how to integrate theory and practice," she says.
Ms Chan worked for TVB Jade's news department after obtaining a first degree in communication and is currently with Now Broadband TV's financial channel. "I was keen to go back to school and improve myself by learning something new after working for a few years as a journalist and anchor," she explains. "I chose media management as I believe what I learn during the course will really help my future career."
She has been especially impressed by the programme's "Distinguished Speakers Series". This features top-notch managers talking about the industry and using real-life cases and experiences to illustrate their points.
"A number of prominent directors and managers from advertising agencies, radio stations and TV companies have given us some valuable insights into how they manage their businesses," she says. "It has helped to broaden my horizons and provided a lot of useful advice."