A newly established institution that specialises in media training is now offering programmes to groom the competence and skills of professionals who want to advance their careers in the dynamic and thriving media industry.
The Asia Media School went into operation in October 2006 as an affiliate of the Hong Kong Institute of Continuing Education. The institution is now partnering with Oklahoma City University in the US to offer a top-up degree programme in liberal studies with a concentration in mass communications. Prospective students looking to entering the programme should possess basic knowledge from the school's diploma programme in mass communications.
Charles Chau, dean of the Asia Media School, hopes the programmes can strengthen students' work competence in the media industry and help realise his vision of nurturing more discerning media professionals to sustain Hong Kong's status as a regional media hub.
The diploma programme in mass communications can be completed in two years. It is equivalent to a three-year university programme in the US or a two-year programme in the UK or Australia. Students can also advance and complete their bachelor's degree with a concentration in mass communications in a further year.
This BA programme, meanwhile, can be spread over a period of 12 to 24 months, and students must also undertake a three-week residency at Oklahoma City University for a television production programme.
As a veteran in the media industry who held a senior position in a multinational media firm for years, Mr Chau considers both academic knowledge and practical exposure equally essential for a successful media practitioner. For this reason, the programmes place equal emphasis on academic and industrial exposure to equip students with theoretical knowledge in mass communications.
Students in the diploma programme must take core subjects in English and Chinese writing, media and communication practice, media marketing and management, media economics, media law, and ethics and copyright issues. They are also required to take elective courses in the five communication fields: electronic media, print media, new media, film, advertising and public relations. Their concentration of studies will be determined when they take elective courses in the specific field of studies they choose. Mr Chau believes that such a curriculum design can help students acquire a deeper insight into, and a broader knowledge and greater understanding of the mass communications field.
Behind the reel
A unique aspect of the programme is its "shadowing project", in which students are assigned to observe the daily schedules of veteran media practitioners in their workplaces for one week. Through personal observation and intimate contact with the veteran they can familiarise themselves with the daily operations of the industry and identify the challenges ahead. Some promising students may be offered internships with well-established local, mainland or overseas media organisations such as MTV, CNN and Star to gain some hands-on experience.
The programme also offers students the opportunity to meet senior executives of multinational media firms during lectures, further enhancing their industry exposure.
With the government's intention to further develop the creative industry and increasing demand for new blood, Mr Chau believes the career prospects for graduates are most promising, with job opportunities arising not only in Hong Kong and the mainland but even in other Asian countries.
Graduates will also be eligible for a wide range of jobs in different media roles such as journalists, media entrepreneurs, television and film producers, advertising and public relations personnel and circulation executives for newspapers and magazines.