SEMENYIH: The second installment of IGNITE’s Industry Training Week, in collaboration with the School of Media, Languages and Cultures (SMLC), had certainly outdone themselves with the three-day event that contained workshops in journalistic writing, photography, and digital content production.
Themed “The Digital Millenia” and held from the 22nd to 24th of September, IITW 2.0 had gathered well-known professionals across the Malaysian media industry to provide participants with hands-on-training in producing digital content more effectively.
Carrying on from IITW 1.0, IITW 2.0’s Organizing Chief, Lhavanya said,
It’s great to see an idea that I came up with evolve to another stage, but I would say IITW has been a lot of ups and downs and has been a great learning curve on how to manage a community.
World Café Method: A Start of Something New
Facilitated by Ms Yasotha Arumugam, this ice breaking session comes in a form of discussion to get the participants thinking about the future of digital media. Participants shared many interesting ideas and views on the future of digital media through their sketches and mingled with other participants as they moved from table to table to draw and explained their ideas.
Writing Workshops for Today’s Media
To equip young journalists with relevant writing skills, IITW 2.0 had gathered eminent journalists from R.AGE, The Star and BFM 89.9 to share their tips and tricks with participants. Four workshops were conducted in total, these being Writing for News, the Digital Media, Opinion, and Reviews.
Ian Yee, an accomplished R.AGE editor and the speaker for Writing for Digital Media, gave a key tip in making online stories stand out:
Without an angle, there is no point.
Ian also gave constructive criticism to the handful who succeeded in his challenge to write three paragraphs for a news piece within a five-minute deadline.
IITW 2.0 also saw the return of speaker Susan Tam as she conducted the Writing for News workshop. Besides sharing writing tips with writers, Susan stressed the paramount traits when writing- responsibility, accountability, and public interests as news carry an impactful disposition.
Writers also got a taste of Political Secretary, Ivanpal Singh Grewal’s wit as he piloted the workshop on Writing for Opinion. With his frank humour and interactive workshop, Ivanpal gave the participants invaluable advice on how to write a newsworthy opinion piece and how to stand your ground when the inevitable opposition comes from those who disagree.
The next speaker for the writing workshops was Umapagan Ampikaipakan, a well-established film critic, who headed the workshop on Writing Reviews. His extensive knowledge of current pop culture and film immediately became popular among the participants as he gave advice on how to write a well-constructed review.
Capturing The Landscape of Today’s Media
From fashion to sports, events and even food photography, a series of workshops were provided for participants to hone their photography skills to capture the best moments in this visual-heavy millennia.
For Event Photography, Dr. Thomas Baker and Dag Yngvesson gave photographers a useful crash course on the basic settings of the camera. They also gave tips of what was expected from a good photograph of an event, such as rock concerts and weddings.
The Food Photography workshop saw Christopher Dai, a freelance food photographer and entrepreneur, showing off his props and cool gadgets for his photo shoots as he uncovered the secrets behind those Instagram-worthy shots of food. Participants were awed when they were revealed how the professionals ‘played’ with light to produce different effects in food photography.
In the workshop for Moving Shots & Sports Photography, speaker Tatt Chong Wei, an established photographer taught the participants the key to capturing good images of high speed activities such as sports.
In Fashion Shoots, professional photographer Andy Kho displayed many of his amazing photographs and gave participants the technical information on how such a shot was taken. Photographers were then given the opportunity to have a mini fashion shoot with a model.
Digital Media Uncovered
While a good number of sessions were exclusive to journalists or photographers, these sessions were opened to both writers and photographers to be exposed to the realities of the field of journalism and tips on telling the story – differently and digitally!
How credible is that news article your uncle shared on the family Whatsapp group really? Seasoned journalist as well as the Executive Producer of ‘The Morning Run’, Melisa Melina Idris, taught participants how to distinguish fake news from real news, as well as the motives behind producing such news.
Digital Storytelling: General
Ms Jaya Mahajan, an award-winning broadcaster, taught participants the art of storytelling and what contributes to a share-worthy story. As an exercise, participants presented their ideas on how they retold a story from newspaper articles that could be worth sharing on social media.
Digital Storytelling: Vlogging
With the internet’s current craze for vlogs, Haridas Sivadas, the creative content head at Edelman Public Relations Worldwide, gave participants the dos and the explicit don’ts on how to create vlogs that capture a viewer’s attention and keep them hooked. The session was interactive in nature and as a mini assignment, Haridas asked participants to make their own mini vlogs and gave them advice on how to further improve.
Search Engine Optimization
Ever wondered why your business doesn’t show up on the first page of Google’s search results? Veteran digital marketing strategist Charles Gregory gave participants a thorough lowdown on how to perfectly optimize a website that would appear on the first page of Google’s or any other search engine’s results, thus making it more profitable for businesses.
Social Media Strategies in the Media Industry
In this session, Shalini Chakrarvati from the Social Media Department of CiP showed participants how to utilise different social media strategies and guidelines on how to write effectively for different social media platforms to optimise marketing reach and capture consumer interest.
In the current digitalised world, it makes more sense for businesses to try to maximise their reach by creating a website. Established web designer V. Kugantharan conducted a fun and interactive workshop, Web Editing, where he taught participants the basics of web editing and talked about how different businesses had different designs based on the services or products they offered.
Experiences are always worth sharing for one to be prepared for the harsh realities of their job scopes. In the form of a forum, Moderator Yee Heng Yeh asked Ms Gayathry about her career and past work on advocating Human Rights and Press Freedom throughout Southeast Asia.
Pressing issues were discussed as well, such as the difficulties faced for female journalists and the ethical relationship between writers and editors. The session left participants more aware of the uncertainties that would be faced if they chose journalism as a career.
Ever wondered what it felt like to be the one behind the mike? Wonder no more as Fuad Rahmat from BFM 89.9, shared with participants the key to be a good interviewer. Mr. Rahmat reassured that one did not have to be of a certain personality to be a good interviewer. Rather, being responsible and curious as an interviewer would produce a good session instead.
The end of IITW 2.0 was heralded by Media Nite – a celebratory dinner held at Timbre, KL, where participants and workshop conductors interacted jovially in Media and Careers Networking session, as they also partook in a game of “Media Mafia” together.
Participants also presented their projects at the Media Nite Showcase, made with the skills they learned in IITW 2.0, to a panel of judges.
After much deliberation, the judges appointed the team with the project themed on Climate Change as the winners. The event ended on a high note following the award ceremony and closing speech given by Dr. Thomas Barker.
Written by Lee Sheen Yee and Fathima Shamra Mohamed Rifai