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From Boardroom to Classroom

From Boardroom to Classroom

As part of a campaign to promote Journalism, IACT College has launched a series of educational articles and inspiring interviews which includes one with Journalism lecturer and Inksight advisor Natasha MH.

1) viagra effects time What did you work as before IACT?

Fresh out of college with my Master’s degree I was offered a job as Content Editor at the newly set up IT department at The Sun. Later I switched department to Lifestyle and Features where I was a Lifestyle writer and regular columnist. As part of training, you get to move around within the departments to build up your credentials and skills. You learn from your seniors, listened to editors’ feedback, and observed a lot because so much is happening. I loved it. I remember looking forward to the photography department each morning to see photos of crime and accidents being developed, and listening to the news reporters detailing their experiences. These were photos that won’t get published in the newspapers because they were too gruesome and real. After close to a year, I heard there was an opening for a Features Editor at Cleo Malaysia which was the number one English magazine at the time. Although I barely had a year under my belt in the media industry, I had cialis for sale on the internet published many articles. Why not? I got the job. After 10 months, I was promoted to the Deputy Editor’s chair of CLEO Malaysia. I was 24. It was a different world and power trip altogether compared to being a journalist with a newspaper. Magazine life was ultra-glamorous, a lot of travelling and stressful people management. But I was privileged to a lot of knowledge that was restricted to an ordinary writer. This was when I learned all there was to know about the publishing world, from content creation, competitor analyses, post-production, and how Advertising and Public Relations come together. You don’t just manage a magazine, you’re shaping people’s minds. But after a while I realized I wanted to return viagra cialis online prescriptions to more powerful stories about ordinary people with extraordinary struggles. It’s true what they say, once a journalist, always a journalist. One of my editors taught me, “Leave when you’re on a high note but after you’ve learned all that needs to be learned”. I enjoyed the fashion shows and exclusivity, but I much preferred being at the printers with the heat and smell of ink rolling onto the papers, seeing what my team had painstakingly created go into offset printing. More greatly, I missed being out there talking to can cialis make you last longer people on the streets than walk in my expensive heels. I continued as a writer and was also consultant to many media projects to this day but an opportunity came up in teaching around 2004 and it’s been 12 years.

2) What made you decide to be an educator?

As an editor, I also had to look into human resourcing. The turnover was high among the much younger staff. They usually last for a few months. And we always end up firing people for a simple fact: the younger blood had no survival skills or was clueless to how the media world actually works. I had many graduates in Mass Communication even from overseas apply excitedly as a fashion writer and after a week, wants to quit because it was not what she imagined. Others wine and viagra were fired because they negate to understand that long hours were part and parcel of the job, it is a lot of work, and you need to be independent and not expect people to tell you how to do your job. I was mystified how they cannot understand the basics of the industry. One day, out of frustration, I told a friend, “I think I should go into education so I can find out what the hell are they learning and tell the teachers they’re giving students a false sense of reality.” Instead of adding to the complaints I should perhaps contribute to the solution. Get to the root of it, and that’s how I ended up in education. I was that disturbed. To me going into education was not a change of career, but a civic duty to do something I felt was more meaningful. Why should I wait till I was 40 or 50 to do it?

3) How do you think Project Based Learning (PBL) helps in developing IACT students?

It helps to remove the fantasy and replace it with reality. A lot of movies out there especially in the mid 2000 like How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days and shows like Ugly Betty portrayed the world of fashion and magazine as all glitzy, parties and glamour. Yes, it is true. But it is also hard work with many long hours, grueling production schedules and highly demanding. The closest bet would be The Devil Wears Prada. There are seasons: weeks when work is light or hardly any pressure, but there comes a time when five projects are flooding in with the same deadline and it’s a Friday night. There is a production schedule which everyone must adhere to and if you slack up, it affects the entire production line and someone’s head is going to be on the chopping block. PBL exposes students to these realistic pressures, intensity and demands be it a 1,200-word feature article, a campaign or a poster advertisement. It also throws in a huge amount of responsibility and accountability because many of these projects involve actual clients. But the best quality is students get to make a ton of mistakes along the way which is good so they get accustomed to criticism as a way to improve themselves, working with all sorts of characters, and understand professional ethics. These aspect won’t come from a textbook – and that I realized, was the root of all evil. Students were learning about the media world from textbooks and teachers who barely had

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much exposure in the industry. One or two years are not enough. That is why students should research a college and make sure the team of academics are seasoned from the industry. A teacher with no experience can preach to you how the media world operates; one with experience will teach you how to survive it.

4) What was your most exciting assignment carried out with students?

Every one that takes them to the streets. But the most memorable is when I taught feature writing to a group of journalism majors. Their assignment was to write on poverty. At first I asked them to describe what poverty means to them. They were so proud giving me what they didn’t realize were clichéd, textbook definitions. I just smiled and told them to follow me to a small if not displaced settlement nestled off Subang where the word poverty was written all over it. Being typical urban hipsters, they were culturally shocked and emotionally uncomfortable. I made them explore the vicinity for several hours, speak to the people and to really open their eyes. Post-trip I asked them, again, to define poverty. This time, they wrote using a completely different vocabulary. Within hours, they grew up, matured a little. They wrote like they finally mean it. But I can still recall their facial expressions when they first entered the settlement. Discomfort is a good writing teacher.

5) What was your most challenging assignment carried out with students?

Each time I take students out to restaurants to write about food. Besotted with their junk food and too much eating on their own, I find myself more often teaching them table manners and social etiquette, like how to use their utensils, not to belch in public and how to talk to the waiters and managers. I also have to introduce them to vegetables. It is hilarious. I sound more like a mother. My students enjoy these outdoor classroom learning experiences but for me, if you want to venture into the media industry, you need to be at your best especially in public. I still have that editor’s authority when I deal with my students and I find it important to teach students to set a standard for themselves from image, manners to cognition.

6) What is your advice to students who are interested to go into the creative industry?

Don’t be afraid to take risks, make mistakes and live in your own shadow. I see too many students nowadays depending on others to make decisions, such as their parents or friends, even when deciding which course to take. My own parents initially didn’t support my career in media but I stood my grounds. On my first day at work I already had to attend an event and finished work past midnight. My parents flipped. They gave me a week, two at the most, to resign. In my head I had that amount of time to get published. So I kicked my own ass, studied the business, got told off a fair bit but kept going. The first time I got published my parents went “Meh”. It was only when their friends started to recognize my name and show them my byline that they grew to understand what I was really doing. That taught me one important principle: You don’t need anyone else to validate who you are. It’s your life, your rule. So to be creative, you need to explore the unfamiliar. Try new things, taste new food, learn new skills, listen to a new genre of music each year. You get knocked down you get up again. Be inspired and be inspiring. Be excited about life. Otherwise, how can you write about it?

Image by www.flickr.com

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