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RSJ group recognized nationally for innovative storytelling

A group of 10 School of Journalism students win the COPA awards for 360 video series on underreported stories in Hong Kong
January 21, 2020

A group of 10 students who travelled to Hong Kong as a part of an international reporting course, opens in new window (HK360), offered at the School of Journalism, have gained nation-wide recognition for their innovative storytelling. The six-week experience, led by Assistant Professor Adrian Ma, took students on a journalistic adventure through the dynamic city and tasked them to seek out stories often underreported in traditional press. Furthermore, the young journalists were challenged to tell their stories through new media such as virtual reality and 360 video. The students’ unique and adept international reporting earned first place at the Canadian Online Publishing Awards, external link, opens in new window (COPA) for demonstrating excellence in interactive storytelling. 

The COPA attracts Canadian content producers of different industries and specialties -- both in traditional and new media -- to showcase and recognize national innovation in journalistic practice. Incorporating new media, such as 360 video and virtual reality to  document iconic aspects of Hong Kong’s cultural heritage, allowed for the creation of a uniquely interactive stories.

HK 360

The students receive their award. Left to right: Declan Keogh, Camila Gonzalez, Stephanie Liu, Adam Chen. 

HK 360

The students explore Temple Street in Hong Kong.

“We wanted to focus on immersing audiences in stories that don’t usually make the headlines,” said Adrian Ma, the project’s faculty advisor and assistant professor at the School of Journalism. “There are many incredible local journalists who are doing important work in Hong Kong covering politics and economics... As we don’t have the context to bring those stories to justice, we chose to find stories that the media wasn’t really covering -- the stories of the people and traditions in Hong Kong.”

The stories captured by the students ranged from documenting 250-year-old abandoned villages and traditional street restaurants to emerging LGBTQ+ communities. Stephanie Liu, a fourth-year student at the School of Journalism says that she believes the experience was pivotal in developing her craft and gaining a deeper understanding of the roles and responsibilities of journalists.

Student 360 Video project: Dai Pai Dongs

Student 360 Video project: The 250-year old village. 

“Going to report in Hong Kong was never about reporting on a high-profile, ground-breaking story,” said Liu. “It was about making connections with people and sharing their experiences... it was about giving people a voice who don’t have one in mainstream media and viewing things from a different perspective.”

“Going to report in Hong Kong was never about reporting on a high-profile, ground-breaking story,” said Liu. “It was about making connections with people and sharing their experiences... it was about giving people a voice who don’t have one in mainstream media and viewing things from a different perspective.”

During their travels, students had the opportunity to network with FCAD alumni, visit the newsrooms of CNN International and the South China Morning Post and connect with media professionals in Asia at events held in the offices of Google and Bloomberg.  They also participated in professional panels and workshops at the N3 Media Conference, external link, presented by the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) at Hong Kong University, that focused on the future of news and multimedia journalism. 

As a part of FCAD’s initiative to grow global learning opportunities, HK360 is a new course at the School of Journalism with teachings that traverse borders to connect international perspectives. Offered only for its second year, the inspired course work produced by students continues to gain both national and international recognition. Last year’s cohort recognized internationally by the Asian-American Journalists Association, external link, opens in new window’s (AAJA-Asia) Digital Journalism Award and nationally by the Emerge Media Awards -- placing runner-up for best multimedia production.

The faculty continues to seek out new opportunities to grow global learning experiences that inspire students to collaboratively explore and push the boundaries of creative innovation. 

“This course truly allowed students to put their crafts into practice,” said Ma. “A big part of being a journalist is exploring the world and being curious about it.”

HK 360

The summer 2018 team

HK 360

Left to right: Bianca Bharti, Camila Gonzalez, Adrian Ma, Tiffany Lam, Richa Syal, Celina Gallardo, Stephanie Liu, Aurora Zboch, Adjani N. Toussoum.

FCAD at Ryerson University

Ryerson FCAD is an impactful education hub and innovation ecosystem at the heart of Canada's media, design and creative industries. It is grounded in Canadian values but with a truly international perspective and scope. It is home to many of Canada's top schools and programs in their field and recognized as a leading institution around the world.

Media contact:

Sarah Twomey
FCAD at Ryerson University
Manager, Marketing and Communications
sarah.twomey@ryerson.ca