|George Town, 28 Jun 2018 - THERE was a time when becoming a journalist was the ambition of many mass communication students, but not anymore.|
It is an area that needs reflection, said the head of the mass communication school in one of the largest universities in Penang.
“There are still many who choose to study mass communication because it is the ideal tertiary path for anyone who has a creative streak and likes dealing with people,” said KDU Penang University College’s head of the Department of Mass Communication, Dr Tan Lee Ooi.
“But many students are now passionate about elements like video production, public relations, advertising or events management.”
Dr Tan estimated that only one in 10 students under his wing demonstrated a keen interest in journalism. He suspected that the primary reason is that the Malaysian society is losing the habit of reading and writing.
“The purpose of journalism is to give us the information we need to make the best possible decisions about our lives, communities and governments. But truthfully, when youths first become attracted to journalism, the seed is their literary ability,” he pointed out.
He added that depending on the mass communication graduate’s interest and disposition, students could opt to be hard news reporters or choose a less hectic, more in-depth form of journalism like magazine or feature writers.
He said despite the advent of disruptive technologies such as online videos, students need to grasp the fact that literary abilities – attentive reading and concise writing skills – remain the best way for society to transmit knowledge while the mainstream media supplies current information.
Dr Tan said mass communication undergraduates should not be overly infatuated with new media elements and pay heed to learning the fundamental ropes of journalism. A former journalist, Dr Tan obtained his PhD from the National University of Singapore and is the author of The Dynamics of Cyberspace during the Reformasi Movement in Malaysia, published by UKM Press.
KDU Penang provides three mass communication degrees, crafted precisely to industry needs.
In its Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Communication and Public Relations and Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in New Media and Advertising, Dr Tan said journalism was a critical subject in the third and final year of the study.
He said the BA in Communication and Public Relations is part of a dual award validated by the United Kingdom’s University of Lincoln, along with a BA (Hons) in Media Production, which is focused on advertising, video and digital media.
Slated for completion this year, the flagship campus of KDU Penang will be able to house 5,000 students on 10 acres (4.05ha) near the second Penang bridge.
It will further KDU Penang’s dedication in offering programmes that are work- and community-integrated, with a strong focus on skills development and a spirit of entrepreneurship.