Lessons on impact journalism

The inaugural MCCY-The Straits Times Idea Jam ended on Saturday and ANG YIYING finds out what participants took away from the workshops and discussions 

Thirty-four young people got a taste of how journalism practices such as interview and research skills could benefit the community last week.

At the first Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth – The Straits Times (MCCY-ST) Idea Jam from Oct 1 to 4, they spoke to civic groups and voluntary welfare organisations, then came up with useful prototype community projects.

On why the four-day event was organised, an MCCY spokesman said: “Service learning is a vital component of holistic youth development.

“We want to empower our youth to be active citizens and contribute to building our ‘democracy of deeds’.”

Ms Serene Goh, editor of the ST Schools desk which is primarily driving the event, said: “Above all, we want to empower young people with the necessary skills and insights to develop workable prototypes to benefit various communities in Singapore.”

Participants were hothoused at 10 Square @ Orchard Central – a new arts training centre for young people by The RICE Company, a non-profit organisation that promotes arts and culture in the community.

They learnt it was crucial to form solutions that were “human-centred”, or in other words based on people’s needs and experiences, in workshops led by Mr Christopher Sopher, founder and director of Miami-based civic incubator WhereBy.Us.

Librarians from the Singapore Press Holdings’ Information Resource Centre also taught the participants how to look for information on SPH’s online news archive, to help them in their research on their designated civic group or voluntary welfare organisation.

Working in 10 teams, the participants’ efforts culminated in a pitch to a judging panel on Saturday at ITE College Central.

Among the preliminary ideas formed:

One of the teams thought of making YouTube tutorials to teach young people do-it-yourself skills which would help the civic group Sustainable Living Lab promote a culture of making things among the youth, one of its main objectives.

Another group wanted to create a mobile app to teach young people local dialects to connect with elderly folk, which the Blossom World Society – a VWO which wants to inculcate values of gratitude and appreciation in youth – could use as a publicity tool to connect with its target audience.

Successful teams received seed funding of up to $3,000 from the NYC’s Young ChangeMakers grant to carry out their projects.IN captured the moments from the days before their presentations.

Additional reporting by Amanda Phoon

On the most interesting part of the event

“It was the interview process, interviewing Mr Gerard Ee of the VWO (Beyond Social Services). It was fun working with my teammates, taking turns to do note-taking and the interviewing. As we became more comfortable with one another, it turned from an interview process to a collaborative ideas process.”

Shivaanan Selvasevaran, 18, second-year student at Singapore Polytechnic

On what they hoped to get out of the event

“ I’m interested in impact journalism and social enterprise. I’m interested to find out how to use stories and photos to make an impact on the public.”

Lim Zi Song, 21, first-year student at Nanyang Technological University

“ I want to learn to come up with better solutions, not just for this project but for other service learning projects as well.”

Amanda Chiam, 18, first-year student at UniSIM

On what they learnt

“The method of mindmapping – using Post-It notes. I had never done it before. It really works – it brings out ideas and insights. It makes things more arranged and organised, which helps us identify the problems and solutions.”

Mohamed Gadaffi Mohd Juferi, 18, first-year student at ITE College West

“Perspectives are very important. One issue can be viewed from many different perspectives, which you have to take into consideration in order to come up with the best solution.”

Jovin Tan Qiu Ying, 21, an administration executive

For more information, go to www.straitstimes.com/idea-jam