In a world where modern journalism has overtaken the art of old-fashioned newspaper writing, the BRATs Young Journalists Programme managed to incorporate both into their recent camp at Resorts World Langkawi.
From article writing to video editing, the four days three-night journalism crash course had all its participants losing sleep to meet deadlines. Our hotel room with an ocean view motivated us to wake up every morning. However, I’m certain it was our buffet breakfast with a view of the sunrise which fueled us to get through the day.
The trial run on the day we arrived required us to interview our senior and write a four-paragraph article, create a one minute video, take three good photos and write captions for each of them. It was nothing compared to the two assignments that came the following days.
One morning, my team was assigned to interview the Captain of a catamaran ship, who took us on a day cruise around the island. With 15 years of sailing experience under his belt, he would have been the perfect profile to feature. However, his short and simple answers meant we had to put a lot more work into completing the article and video.
With three competent journalists each leading a team, tasks for each assignment was divided among all members. Many of the participants were assigned to transcribing the interviews as it was the most time-consuming part of it. The interview itself was done in a mix of Malay and English, which made the transcribing all that more difficult.
As the sole article writer in my team, there was no time to wait for the transcribing to have been completed. I was required to listen to the voice recording of the interview, jot down notes on top of the ones I had already taken before, and start writing the article. This proved to be more of a challenge than I thought it would be as we did not have enough laptops to go around and were required to submit our work by the end of the day.
On the first day, we were introduced to various obstacles a journalist may face in every assignment, from forgetting to turn on the voice recorder to losing the tapes and possible solutions for them. We were then briefed on the entire process we would experience the following days, what gave a story news value and editing tips from video editors.
It was certainly a camp I would recommend for any individual to attend, no matter if they planned on being a journalist or not. On top of everything I had learned, I gained a bunch of lifelong friends I can count on even now that camp was over. In the end, it all came down to how much this changed my perspective of being a journalist, and I believe it is safe to say it’s a career I now consider pursuing in the future.