Program: Mass Communication
“If a nation can be compared to a large vessel at sea, then the journalists are its watch-keepers who timely report the treacherous shoals and hidden dangers to ensure the safe journey of the vessel.” This celebrated and thought-provocative motto by Joseph Pulitzer gives a most vivid and profound elucidation of the crucial role that journalists can play in contemporary social life. Regarding the role of the watch-keeper, I have my own understanding. The career of being a journalist entails “thinking allowed and thinking aloud.” He or she should, first of all, be an active, sensitive participant of social life and demonstrate independent and critical insights. Apart from such qualities as courage, social conscience, objectivity, enthusiasm and discretion, a journalist must have deep concerns for the destiny of his/her nation and the welfare of its people.
I never cherish any blind faith in the accepted theories and teachings but instead have endeavored to cultivate a skeptical attitude toward what I am exposed to. In my notebooks are recorded not only what my teachers have taught me but also my personal contemplations and critical views. On many important issues I have the habit of discussing with the most learned and inspiring teachers from whom to seek enlightenment and to probe into the essence of the matter through “collisions of ideas”. I have also devoted most of my spare time to studying technical literature in the libraries, to keep myself informed of the latest academic developments and to develop my own academic perspectives from a wealth of information. In taking examinations, I seldom confine myself to what is laid down in the textbooks but instead try to present my own understandings, observations and reflections. It is indeed not easy to be one’s true self but the joy of exercising my own academic initiative and exploring my academic possibilities has given me immense satisfaction.
In studying the courses in myself specialty, I have paid close attention to laying a solid academic foundation. I have been particularly fascinated by such courses as Mass Communication, Theories of Journalism, Theories of Broadcasting and Television Journalism, and History of Western Journalism, which have allowed me to gain a deep understanding of the principles of journalism and to examine journalism in a historical context. The world of journalism represents an exciting world of ideas and ideals, a world of variegated phenomena that make up the reality of our social life. Apart from compulsory courses, I took a number of optional courses like The History of Ancient China. This course has been very important to me because, in order to understand how China ’s mass communication evolved in the contemporary period, it is necessary to gain insights into China ’s traditional cultural and historical legacy and how those cultural and historical traditions shape the present and even the future of the country.
“A true scholar must be well-read and well-traveled.” This well-known Chinese saying points to two essential qualities that a successful student and scholar must possess—ample book knowledge and practical experience (the latter resulting from field trips far and wide). I believe this principle holds especially true for practitioners of mass communication because it is more of an applied academic discipline. For half a year just as a freshman, I did internship at XX Television Station—one of China ’s major TV producer—where I performed two types of responsibilities: translating English materials into Chinese and editing news. The first responsibility exposed me to the standard practices of western mass media while the second allowed me to obtain practical work experience.
Later, working as an interning reporter at XX Daily, the largest newspaper in the city, I concentrated on the issue of possible water pollution in the Three-Gorge Region where the world’s largest hydrological project is under way. For a whole month, I traveled to 10 counties and investigated the operation of the 19 water treatment factories in this region. In addition, I interviewed 12 environmentalists and based on detailed facts and statistics I gave an objective and detailed analysis of the possible negative impacts of the project on the local water environment and urged the local authorities to take concrete measures to guard against possible consequences. My serial articles produced widespread sensation and made the protection of water environment the hot subject of the time in the local media. For me, this was a most important experience as a feature story writer because for the first time in my life I made extensive field trips and reported on the issues most closely related to the welfare of the general public. This experience significantly heightened my awareness of the social responsibility of the journalist and of the role that a journalist can play in promoting the social welfare of the people.