From the delightful experience of new dining spots to the heart-breaking news of natural disasters, journalists have the ability to emulate, create and influence the emotions of the consumers. The powers of journalism extend across all industries from that simple internal organisational newsletter, glamourous lifestyle magazines to the world of politics and business. The truth is journalism is a huge responsibility.
“A lot of movies have portrayed the world of magazine as all glitzy and glamour. But that is not the whole truth” – says Ms. Natasha binti Mohd Hishamudin, IACT College Senior Lecturer of Mass Communication. IACT College takes journalism on to a whole new level. To ensure that students have a holistic view of the industry lecturers at IACT College practice a good mix of theoretical approach with practical knowledge via Project-Based Learning (PBL). “Behind the glossy covers of every magazine, comes a lot of hard work, long hours and demanding standards. Sure there are times when the work is light but there are also instances whereby five projects comes in at the same time and your Friday nights get taken away. You can’t slack for even a moment or you will let down the entire team and mess up the entire production process. And even under all that pressure, you must still uphold strong professional ethics and accountability. Project-Based Learning (PBL) exposes students to that real world feel… which is not found in any textbooks.” Adds Ms Natasha. When questioned further on her teaching style, she explains, “Teaching is a thing of the past. As a lecturer, I believe in sharing real experiences with my students. A teacher with no experience can preach to you how the media world operates; but only one with experience will teach you how to survive it.”
Founded and endorsed by industry professionals, IACT College distinctive mark of difference comes from its teaching faculty. IACT College’s panel of lecturers comprises industry experts who come with their wealth of knowledge and industry insights. Ms. Natasha herself, began her career as the Content Editor at The Sun Daily and then later moved on to becoming the Deputy Editor of CLEO Malaysia at 24 years of age. When asked to comment on journalism and its versatility, she shares “it’s a whole world of difference between magazine journalism and newspaper. There is a certain power in either. In newspapers you report. In magazines you have the ability to influence and affect changes in people’s lives – from attire to lifestyle experiences.”
“It’s true what they say, once a journalist, always a journalist. One of my editors taught me, leave when you’re on a high note but after you’ve learned all that needs to be learned from that organisation,” said the Senior Lecturer, whom was also a writer and formerly a consultant to various media projects until she ventured into education in 2004. The career changing decision was made because she realised the need for the generation of today to understand the truth in journalism. “I was mystified how little they understand what the industry stood for. Hence, I felt that I should contribute to the solution and make a change. Get to the root of it, and that’s how I ended up in education.”
Since, Ms. Natasha constantly inspires IACT College students with industry-standard projects, aspiring to break the popular myths which elude Journalism. “One of the more memorable projects is during a feature writing task when the assignment was about poverty. When I first asked the students to describe poverty, they gave me clichéd, textbook definitions. So I took them to a small rural village nestled off Subang to experience it. The students were culturally shocked and emotionally uncomfortable. But by immersing them into the situation their minds’ eyes were opened. And when they were asked to describe poverty again after the trip, they wrote with their hearts. It may have just been a few hours but their growth was immense. The experience was priceless.” She adds further – “I always tell my students – don’t be afraid to take risks, make mistakes and live in your own shadow. I see too many students these days always depending on others to make decisions for them, be it their parents of friends. They are afraid to make the next step. But to be creative you need to explore the unfamiliar. To try new things, taste new food, learn new skills … be inspired and be inspiring. Be excited about life because if you are not, how can you write about it?”
Ms. Natasha (far left) and her students from Foundation in Media Studies during her outdoor class trip for ‘Creative and Professional Writing’, covering the Samsung Galaxy S7 launch at KLCC and Petronas Art Gallery.