RECAP: Day 1 of N3Con
AAJA-Asia’s 11th edition of the New.Now.Next Media Conference (N3Con) launched today with over 300 registered participants gathered online, reimagining news over a full week of programming from August 2 – 7.
We will be sending a daily newsletter with some conference highlights and tips to make the most out of the event. In this first issue, we are pleased to feature a welcome letter from AAJA-Asia’s President, K. Oanh Ha and a full length article about N3Con 2021’s inaugural panel discussion. We wish you a good read and a great conference ahead!
— AAJA-Asia Team
Journalists’ Mental Wellness and flexibility within Post-pandemic Newsroom in the Spotlight
News leaders see flexibility and mental wellness as key in post-pandemic newsrooms.
“This is what the pandemic has taught us, and because we cannot work in different places,” she said. Certainly, the newsroom landscape is more complicated where breaking news coverage is more challenging in a post-pandemic world. “We are giving them flexibility, to let our fellow journalists do what they need to do; taking care of loved ones and practising self-care, allowing them to have time to work when necessary.”
K. Oanh Ha, President of AAJA-Asia and moderator of the panel, as well as Sarah Wells, senior executive editor for APAC, Bloomberg News agreed that flexibility is the key and the new motto for newsrooms these days. “Especially for journalism newcomers, it is difficult to get your head around newsroom culture when you are unable to be in the newsroom physically.”
In terms of managing the various waves of infections, Ken Moritsugu, Greater China News Director at the Associated Press, shared that unpredictability is another factor. “With the newer COVID19 strain of Delta variant, there is a new outbreak within China – cases are rising. We definitely decided to cut back on non-essential travels, unless it’s necessary to do so for some break news coverage. And China also has stricter quarantine requirements, and all these are constantly in the mix, the unpredictability also contributes to changing COVID19 regulations within China.”
Not only did the pandemic affected the newsrooms operations, but it has also even threatened the survivability of news organisations. Ging Reyes, head of integrated News Division, ABS-CBN was saddened that she had a headcount reduction of 35%, and the Philippines government’s refusal of their broadcast license renewal worsened the situation.
“We need to introduce a lot of budget cuts and have to pivot or fast track to a more interactive digital-first media organisation,” she said.
Asia Press Freedom Under Assault
by Rebecca Isjwara
In this session, panelists Aye Min Thant, features editor at Frontier Myanmar; Bao Choy, Investigative journalist and video producer; Lady Ann Salem, Editor at Manila Today shared personal stories and strategies about reporting in environments where freedom of press and journalist safety has been challenged from time and time again in Myanmar, Hong Kong, and the Philippines. Keith Richburg, Director and Professor of Practice, Journalism and Media Studies Centre at Hong Kong University and moderator of the panel, also asked speakers about the value of international organizations releasing statements of concern, and panelists said that international pressure does make a difference as authorities become aware that they are being watched.
Networking Lunch with AAJA: John Liu – Bloomberg News Executive Editor, Greater China Region
By Jesslyn Luyan
John Liu, Bloomberg News Executive Editor for the Greater China Region, let us in on what his daily life looks like.
Starting off the workday with a meeting with the Asia-wide team at 7.30 am HKT to set the day’s agenda, with meetings to follow later to discuss story ideas and develop stories for the next day. He spends his day talking with various editors, discussing stories, or talking to the crew at the Tokyo Olympics right now.
Regarding the National Security Law in Hong Kong, one of the challenges for John is that some of the measures are very broad and it is still a fairly new law, so they are still trying to figure out where to draw the line.
His solution to decide on which news to report is to ask two questions: “Is it interesting?” and “Is it news that is worth telling and why?”. If the answers to both questions are yes, then they will find a way to report it because for him “ultimately everything is related”.