The Journalism and Media Studies Centre (JMSC) at the University of Hong Kong has announced that Keith Richburg will become the centre’s new director starting this September, following the retirement of current director Professor Ying Chan. Chan founded the JMSC in 1998 and has been the director ever since.
Richburg sees his first goal as that of a physician examining a new patient: first, do no harm. He said he wants to take what Chan has successfully built and do his best to strengthen it for the long term.
“I see this as taking over the cockpit of a jetliner that is successfully cruising along at the right speed and altitude, and keeping her steady but climbing higher,” he said.
Having previously taught at the JMSC as a visiting professor, Richburg is returning to Hong Kong after his first move to the city in 1995. Richburg said his new post seemed like the perfect fit for him, following his career at the Washington Post, his fellowship at Harvard University, and teaching international reporting at Princeton University.
Looking at the “exciting challenges” ahead, Richburg will first have to tackle how to navigate a university system, which differs greatly from that of a newsroom. He also plans to make sure the department is up-to-date with the course offerings, given the rapidly changing media environment, in addition to making sure that the centre has the resources needed to expand its journalism program.
For Richburg, he says the reward will be working with the students, helping train the next generation of journalists and foreign correspondents, and equipping them with the skills they’ll need in this new media ecosystem.
Chan remains confident that the JMSC will move from strength to strength under the directorship of Richburg. With this, alongside a changing media environment in Hong Kong, China and the rest of the world, Chan said there will always be challenges coming up – those facing such challenges just have to get “better and better.”
“We have built a great team with faculty from diverse backgrounds, and I’m grateful for fabulous students who share that fashion and think independently,” Chan said.
Her students feel the same about Chan. Natalie Lung, a mentee of Chan’s and a second-year journalism and computer science major, said that Chan is one of the most patient and approachable mentors Lung has ever met.
“Professor Chan has encouraged me to go out of my comfort zone time and time again,” Lung said.
When talking about leaving, Chan said with a smile that she is not retiring from life, only from the JMSC. Having founded both the JSMC and another journalism school in Mainland China, following her retirement, Chan plans to continue her contributions to journalism.
“I am an educator and I won’t stop educating students,” Chan said.
“I am also a veteran journalist. I became a journalist, and I will always be a journalist.”