By Foo Ming Li
Being a news anchor is more than presentation of facts or information to the public. On the contrary, a news anchor must be equipped with a diverse range of skills when it comes to news reporting. In fact, there may be occasions where news reporters even risk their lives to cover news or events.
Ng Jaz Kee, a Diploma in Mass Communication graduate from Han Chiang College of Communication, is currently news anchor for Astro AEC Evening Edition.
The broadcasting graduate admits that mass communication had not been his first option, as he was interested to pursue interior design instead.
His parents, however, were not keen on the latter. They encouraged him to further his studies in mass communication, having observed that their son had participated in many public speaking competitions during his primary and secondary school days. After careful consideration, Ng followed his parents’ advice and pursued a Diploma in Mass Communication at HCUC.
Ng also enjoys hosting events or emceeing, although the allowances paid are meagre in amount. Nevertheless, the experience gained is invaluable to him.
“Although some event organisers will pay RM 80 to RM 100 as allowance, others do not compensate hosts or emcees. But this has not stopped me from taking up as many hosting roles as I possibly can,” Ng said.
As Ng also aspired to be a news anchor, he applied for an anchoring position at Astro AEC Evening Edition news during the final semester of his studies in Taiwan. Initially, he did not receive any response after his application.
“I thought that someone had already been hired for the vacancy. Instead of wasting my time waiting around, I joined an online radio station,” he explained.
During Ng’s stint at the online radio station, his supervisor assigned Ng the task of hosting a talk show instead of news anchoring.
“As a host of a talk show, I had to keep abreast with the latest local and international news and events. I also had to invite the interviewees for the talk show,” Ng said.
About a month later, Ng received a letter from Astro AEC Evening Edition expressing their interest in interviewing him for a news anchoring position. Three months later, he received their invitation to a second interview.
Ng subsequently joined the Astro AEC Evening Edition as a news anchor. He was initially assigned to learn the formats of news writing formats and editing of news footage.
“The supervisor of the news program taught me that the active voice must be employed in news writing to give the audience a clear understanding of the facts.” Ng explained.
Ng stated that the pandemic has witnessed news anchors having to risk their health and safety by attending government press conferences that involve gatherings of people.
He also added that news anchors are required to report current issues surrounding the Movement Control Order by coming up with unique angles, and create relevant questions during press conferences.
“News anchors have no choice but to remove their face masks while recording their news footage. Otherwise their voices might be muffled and inaudible to the audience. Additionally, the recording must take place in an uncrowded room to minimize the risk of contracting the virus,” Ng added as he discussed the challenges faced by a news anchor in the time of the pandemic.