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Journalism Students Gain Valuable Experience a World Away

18 students from the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism returns from a summer internship in Hong Kong and Shanghai working for news and public relations agencies.

Release Date: 08/18/2011

This article was originally published by USC News.

A group of 18 journalism, public relations and communication students from the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism recently returned home from a successful summer internship in Hong Kong and Shanghai, where they worked for high-profile news and public relations agencies.

This year marked the second summer of the Shanghai program, an effort to strengthen USC Annenberg’s presence on the Chinese mainland. The group included American and Chinese students who embraced the opportunity to explore and rediscover historically and culturally significant sites.

Besides the cultural benefits and the chance to “turbo-boost” their resumes by working for top firms, the internship also enhanced the students’ USC experience, said professor Jay Wang, who organized and led the Shanghai program.

“Our goal is not only to enhance team dynamics and the relationships among participants, but also to connect the group with the larger network of USC alums currently living and working in Shanghai,” Wang said.

USC professor Mei Fong, who led the Hong Kong program, said: “Getting something like this under your belt and making contacts is very important. Working overseas is exciting, and for many of them, it’s their way of getting their feet wet by working in some of the most dynamic cities in the world.”

The program included group trips to Beijing, tribal villages in China and Disney’s Asia headquarters, where they met with the entertainment company’s top communications executive in that country.

Journalism students reported extensively on subjects such as Hong Kong's poorest residents living in tiny coffin homes and the plight of migrant workers. The story on coffin homes by Ben Gottlieb and Kristie Hang in late July was the most emailed story on CNN that day. It also was picked up by local Chinese media.

Emily Frost, who served an internship at Radio Television Hong Kong, reported several stories, including one on pregnant migrant workers who face deportation. She also examined Hong Kong's post-Japan nuclear energy research efforts.

Andrew McIntyre added several clips to his collection by working at the English daily newspaper South China Morning Post. He also wrote about music, old Hong Kong maps, education, biotechnology and court cases. The paper also published his first obituary.

Cory Welsh, who worked as a financial public relations intern at MSL Hong Kong, said: “I learned to navigate a new job and a role as the only intern for our corporate and financial P.R. team at my agency. I connected with colleagues within a multicultural workplace that conducts its craft in both English and Chinese.

“I also got to know my local neighborhood and tried local activities and hotspots that led me to a diverse group of friends from around the globe. Living, rather than simply traveling, in a new city really leads to endless learning - about ourselves as well as the world around us.”

Ka Li, a native of China, learned about the professional world of her homeland, where she hopes to be hired in public relations after earning a degree in global communication.

“After studying in foreign countries the past two years, I became unfamiliar with the Chinese media market. So this was an opportunity for me to get to know the ever-changing media market in China again. And I learned a lot about the Chinese P.R. industry, which is totally different from the United States,” she said, adding that the most valuable part of her internship at Golin Harris Shanghai was the connections she made in the industry where she hopes to work.

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