Thinking like a Journalist is Practical for Our Daily Lives

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Peggy Loh, author of My Johor Stories, shared pictures of her past. She grew up humbly, but her father had always encouraged her to write to editors in newspapers. Little did she know she would be writing as a career!

Youth Truth News, Basic Journalism Course concludes for the year

Sometimes, we spend our days being mindless of what goes on around us. Our conscious level is basic at the five senses of what we see, hear, smell, touch, and taste, but our problem-solving and thinking skills are often untapped in our daily lives. We receive information as it is and respond to what we hear with our emotions without thinking or questioning the situation.

A journalist typically thinks in questions. The 5W and 1H – who, what, when, where, why, and how are the skeletons of every story the journalist seeks to find answers for. Holding by the principles of Journalism where Fairness and Impartiality is one, he or she also comfortably asks the question “What if I’m wrong?” and goes out to find all sides of the story.

Some participants with the speakers who spent their Saturday morning to learn

I had the honour of sharing my views on the ethics of being a citizen journalist in this age of social media. A citizen journalist refers to someone who has shared information or news online. Internet providers racing to offer faster internet speeds at affordable prices also means the need for us to slow down on what we want to share with the world. We now can upload and download information at lightning speed – but how are we sure what we delivered or received were facts? I felt that this was the basic of being an average internet user: to think about what you see, watch, or read.

Thinking is a habit. It allows us to catch the plethora of things that come at us and categorise them into questions, thoughts and thinking. Having citizens who think beyond the scopes of work and school is absolutely necessary. It begins with how we see our daily lives.

Harish Mustak is all about the gestures, talking passionately about journalism

Other speakers at the course were my colleagues Peggy Loh, Balbeer S Jessy, Vishnu Dev, and hosted by Harish Mustak. Peggy is no stranger to the Johor community having written two books titled My Johor Stories. She stressed the importance of putting the first foot forward in whatever endeavour that “Rome was not built in a day”. Balbeer, the Head of Legal from IRDA, shed truths about sharing online, and the consequences one might have from a legal perspective; even if we think we’re “just sharing”. Vishnu, founder of photo company Reel Studios showed us angles and rules of photography to apply when we want to take a picture. It is ethical to make sure we don’t make people look bad in pictures we want to post online. Harish wit-fully summarised each speaker’s presentation with his views and ensured the programme went smoothly.

The Basic Journalism Course series, which ran in June, August, and October, has come to an end for this year. On behalf of my fellow speakers, I thank the participants for joining us and we hope that one way or another, what we shared are applicable in your daily lives.

Note: Author writes for The Iskandarian and has one published book titled “A Nobody’s Observations”.