Brain Game: How would you explain journalism to a Hong Kong teen in 2035?

  • Each week, our readers vote for their favourite answer and the contestant with the least votes is eliminated
  • We're down to the final two as our contestants explain how they would describe journalism to a teen in the future
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How different will journalism look by the year 2035?

Contestant 1

Connecting ...

Teen: Hi, are you from 2021? What’s journalism? I often hear this word, but I’m not sure what it really means.

Me: That’s easy to understand. Journalism is the first draft of history based on facts and evidence.

Teen: Based on facts … how do you make sure you’ve got facts?

Me: We have journalists fact-checking for us and they will check with multiple sources.

Teen: Wow, journalists! It’s such a cool job! I wish we had them, too. Nobody wants to live in a world full of fake things, right? I am always unsure about whether the news I receive on the giant screen is true or not. Are journalists capable of interviewing famous people?

Me: Yes you can, which …

Teen: Wait, I remember! We have “journalists” too! But they are reporting the happenings from space. They are based in space and update us with things happening there. Like, they explain how the infrastructure is built in a place where everything is floating, or introduce us to destinations which might be on our bucket list when we travel out there ourselves.

Me: I don’t know if I should be happy or sad ...

Teen: Why are you sad! There are cool journalists in the year you’re from, no?

Me: I’m afraid that journalism in my era is not always that amazing. It’s dangerous sometimes, for example when reporting war crimes, and some journalists are even arrested for political reasons.

Teen: But I thought journalists are safe in Hong Kong. I’ve never heard about them being hurt while they were reporting there.

Me: You probably won’t have read any stories of journalists injured in Hong Kong in your current textbooks. There have been incidents, though, that you can find in historical documents from the era.

Teen: That’s sad. So what should I do to become a journalist? I want to be someone who seeks the truth.

Me: being a journalist is not just about writing and editing. It is important to be patient and observant, because reporting involves investigation over a long period of time. You also have to be brave, as speaking the truth could be dangerous.

Teen: I want to be one! I ... (signal disrupted)

Contestant 2

Me: Hi, little nephew Jimmy. do you know what journalism is?

Jimmy: No, I don’t. What is it?

Me: Journalism comes in different forms, such as newspapers, news websites and television. It tells people the latest news.

Jimmy: I’ve never heard of newspapers. What are they?

Me: People in the past used to read newspapers if they wanted to know what was going on around the world. However, this form of journalism is outdated nowadays.

Jimmy: Were there many media outlets before I was born? I always wonder why there is only one media outlet now.

Me: Yes, there were many different media outlets in 2021. However, newspapers were really only read by older people. Young people usually didn’t read them because they received the latest news on their smartphones. What’s more, there was a serious pandemic the previous year. The economy was bad. Many media outlets found that printing newspapers was too expensive. Only one remained and that’s the one you know now.

Jimmy: What a pity! How about journalism now?

Me: Nowadays, people just “listen” to the news because there are megaphones in every street. Every morning, news is broadcast for 30 minutes while people are going about their daily lives, walking places or eating. It saves time, and most importantly, they don’t need to pay to receive the news, which is the cherry on top. Providing news through megaphones is reliable because the media outlet is controlled by the government.

Jimmy: Is journalism now more environmentally friendly?

Me: Yes, compared to journalism in 2021. There is no need to print the news on paper any more. I support this. However, it does mean we have lost the traditional method, which is newspapers.

Jimmy: I understand! Thank you for your explanation.

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