Minister urges media to cultivate veterans to assure quality of news

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 May, 2011, 12:00am


Media companies should try harder to keep seasoned journalists, a top government official has urged.

Their continual loss of experienced journalists might harm the quality of news reporting, Acting Chief Secretary Michael Suen Ming-yeung said.

'Reporters I meet are young, and new faces are appearing continually,' Suen, the minister for education, said. 'To see it positively, the fact that young and aspiring reporters are pursuing this line of career increases the competition; but on the other hand, it begs the question of how much the loss of experienced journalists affects the quality of news.'

In a guest address at the Hong Kong News Awards yesterday, Suen cited two recent examples to support his case. The first was a Hong Kong Journalists Association survey that found more than 30 per cent of journalists want to quit within two years due to low pay. Some 398 reporters were interviewed, with 41 per cent earning HK$15,000 a month or less.

The second was a University of Hong Kong poll that found most respondents believed the city's news media practised self-censorship.

'Having freedom of speech and a well-established rule of law, Hong Kong is an ideal place for journalism... I expect ... media companies to put more effort and investment into attracting and keeping talent,' he said.

The South China Morning Post won 11 prizes at the event. It scooped the pool in the best business news writing in English for the second consecutive year, took the top prize in best news writing in English, and came third in the best scoop.

The newspaper also gained five awards in the photographic category, including champion for news photos.

The top prize for business news went to Eric Ng for his package on the excessive greenhouse gases produced by mainland factories to earn carbon credits and the European Union's ban on buying such credits.

The winner for best English news writing went to Irene Jay Liu for her feature on the chronology of the Manila hostage crisis, tracing the events leading up to when sacked police officer Rolando Mendoza killed eight Hong Kong hostages after he hijacked a tour bus in August last year.

The Post won a record 16 prizes in the award in 2009.