On Day 2 of the All In! Young Writers Festival, we were given the privilege of attending the ‘Presenting in the News and Being in the Now’ session, which seasoned reporters and journalists from Channel News Asia Timothy Go, Steven Chia and Dawn Tan conducted.
The session centered around the theme of news presenting and covered different aspects of reporting that a typical news agency covers. They also touched on areas such as the legal safety of reporters and the ethical issues to which reporters have to be sensitive to, such as how objectivity, which reporters work hard to maintain, cannot be kept up in matters such as abuse.
Timothy Go, one of the aforementioned conductors of the workshop, is currently co presenting the live morning news show, First Look Asia and also covers the Tech-Know segment. He shared on his reasons for ending up in a career in reporting and journalism and how his journey in journalism led him to Channel News Asia. He spoke of the beginnings of his career, where he tried to take off in the United States. He admitted that it was hard to land major reporting jobs due to what he believed was the Connie Chung effect, a phenomenon where Asian male reporters are discriminated due to their appearance. As such he migrated to Asia, where his career finally took off.
Timothy also spoke of the relatively recent change in content creation in news agencies. He said that while there is now a greater focus on what people are interested in seeing, such as cat videos or the clip of Robert Kelly’s children entering the room while he was doing a BBC live interview. He says that while previously news was more focused on the more serious and heavy matters, with the advent of social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram, a greater shift has been made to include news that just serves to provide the masses with a bit of entertainment.
Lastly he also spoke of the processes that go behind news reporting such as finding two verifiable sources of information, running the articles with editors and getting clearance from authorities to release information. He said that under some circumstances, such as when information is not solidly verifiable by the government, details cannot be released by the press. He said this is a little ironic as issues that are being experienced by the masses in real time would not be covered in the press as there would not be any official clearance on the information. He cited MRT breakdowns and power outages as examples of such incidences.