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Having a nose for news

Not one to shy away from making small talk with strangers, Mr Ng Jun Xian enjoys meeting people from all walks of life and listening to their stories. His affable nature also puts others at ease; they open up to him easily.

Although he is perceived as “kaypoh” (meddlesome) by some people, there is no denying that he does have a knack for sniffing out a good story. So it comes as no surprise that he has chosen a career in journalism.

While he was in polytechnic, Mr Ng completed an eight-month internship with Lianhe Zaobao’s sports desk and lifestyle desk Fukan at Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) in 2011.

But it was only after returning for a second internship stint with the Chinese paper’s sports desk during the 2015 SEA Games that cemented his career decision.

“I decided to apply for the SPH Journalism Mid-term Scholarship because I enjoyed my internship in the newsroom. I would say it’s one of the best choices I have made in my life so far,” says Mr Ng. He took up the scholarship after he had completed his first year at Nanyang Technological University studying for a Bachelor of Public Policy and Global Affairs.

The 27-year-old is now a journalist with SPH’s Chinese Media Group (CMG) Newshub Crime and Court desk, covering local news ranging from neighbour disputes to murder cases.

Learning on the job
The scholarship took care of the financial aspects of the remaining three years of his education, and opened up numerous internship opportunities for him.

One of his most memorable internships was during his stint with Lianhe Wanbao in 2016. He was assigned to cover the Standard Chartered bank robbery and experienced first-hand what it was like to cover an ongoing case.

The ability to think fast — critically — and file breaking news on the spot are skills that Mr Ng has picked up in the newsroom. His favourite assignment was done in collaboration with Singapore Prison Service (SPS) on the Day Reporting Order (DRO).

This offered him an insight into what an offender goes through when reporting to a day reporting centre for monitoring and counselling, and undergoing rehabilitation programmes.

“I got to wear an electronic tag on my leg for five days and experience what it’s like to be in DRO,” he says. “Through articles like these, I hope to break the stereotype of offenders and highlight the efforts of SPS.”

Having witnessed how the media industry has evolved over the years, Mr Ng recognises the competition that mainstream media is facing, and new challenges in the digital era. However, he remains excited about the future of journalism.