South Korean Journalism Student, Yohan Yun, Enrolled Into A Cross-Faculty Elective In Motion Graphics And Secured A Role As An Editorial Producer For Hong Kong-Based Start-Up, Forkast News.
I was sitting in a corner of a narrow hospital room, Apple’s patented earphones plugged into my ears, and typing every word my faceless interviewee was telling me. I had gotten pretty fast at transcribing by now – almost subconscious, at this point. I was wrapping up my fourth interview of this long cold and icy day.
I sterilised my hands, wiped every corner of my laptop, and placed my iPhone deep in my pocket. No, this isn’t me in quarantine from the COVID-19 outbreak. This is me in 2016, taking care of my old man. His body was deteriorating, consciousness fading, and his immune system failing from lung cancer.
When it’s time to say goodbye to a dying parent, sometimes, it takes a while. For me it took two years of silent hospital wards, two of the coldest winters, and a state of mind snapping in and out of reality. I desperately wanted to work to keep myself occupied for sanity, but I couldn’t leave him alone.
In the darkest of times, I was one of those lucky people where a hand just shows up out of nowhere. I was introduced to a foreign correspondent who wanted me to do some research, interviews and translations for her, remotely. A ‘fixer’, she called it. I couldn’t decline.
I frequently called experts, government officials and sometimes just random people. I asked a question and when the other end of the line started talking, I’d mute my line and shifted my attention to my weak father. Sometimes, I would forget to press the record button and waste all my efforts, but at least my days were more exciting. We were pumping out 3 to 4 stories a day. I would often forget to eat, and end the day with exhaustion – a grateful reminder that I was alive.
When my dad passed work took over my life. It was the only thing I did for a few months. I might have even gone a few days without bathing. I started getting e-acquainted to other journalists from around the world. I wanted more.
Macleay College was always the right direction in my mind. Practical education really spoke to me. I didn’t want to travel down the hemisphere to take a few tests. I wanted to continue to hone my craft to finally put myself in the best possible position to become who I am supposed to be.
Yohan exploring the Australian landscape.
Some students come with prior experience and some come as a blank sheet. Practical education helps both levels of students to apply technical aspects of our craft to practice. You can read about riding a bike all day, but you’ve got to get on one to learn.
With videos dominating online search results, journalism is adjusting to this trend. One of my lecturers always says that journalists must be prepared to translate their skills into different areas as the digital era is rapidly approaching (or is already here).
I empathise strongly with my lecturer’s ideals, so much so, that I’ve taken the academic coordinator’s advice to complete a cross-faculty elective in Motion Graphics.
“Master this, and there will always be work for you,” my lecturer would often say.
Even before developing a form of fluency in this technique, I was offered a job as an editorial producer for a Hong Kong-based start-up, Forkast News. Luckily, my lecturer was right. Journalism is evolving and if we choose to evolve with it, we’ll be ahead of the curve. Macleay equipped me with the necessary mindset, work ethic, and skills to plug into a working environment and contribute on the first day. I haven’t looked back since.
I am sitting in the corner of my Sydney room, earphones plugged in while typing every word I am telling myself. I’ve gotten even faster at transcribing by now – almost subconscious, at this point. I’m just wrapping up my last story for this long warm and sunny day. A lot has changed.
I want this chance to reach out to students and future students, whether you’re isolating in a time of crisis or struggling to find your road. Reflecting on moments when I was trapped in a hospital room in my darkest moments, there was an opportunity. I just had to find it and so can you.
When you do, I hope you remember that Macleay’s cross-faculty electives are the perfect subjects to equip you with the necessary set of tools to go and be who you’re supposed to be. I now work remotely from home for an employer across the seas. Simultaneously, I am continuing my training at Macleay College.