Storytelling at its best

A PRODUCER at Mediacorp, Ms Jaclyn Low Minmin, 26, benefited greatly from her time at Singapore Management University (SMU) and its Lee Kong Chian Scholars’ Programme.

Scholars under this programme not only enjoy a waiver of SMU’s tuition fees, but also receive grants for a student exchange, a study trip and an overseas community project.

Other benefits include a laptop allowance and participation in development opportunities by SMU’s Centre for Scholars’ Development. All SMU scholarships are bond-free.

Pursuing her studies at SMU was one of the most enjoyable and liberating periods of Ms Low’s life. She took a double degree in Business Management and Social Sciences, majoring in Political Science and Corporate Communications.

She says: “I especially loved learning about political science because what I was learning was happening and unfolding in the real world, creating great relevance and meaning for me as a student.

“It honed my skills in research, formulating strong arguments and writing well.”

Studying Corporate Communications gave her valuable insight into the public relations industry. Her interest in media led her to join the SMU Broadcast and Entertainment Club (SMUBE), where she had the chance to be a master of ceremonies, radio deejay and artiste manager.

She also had voice training from professionals at Mediacorp, some of whom are her current colleagues.

“From starting out with a bad bout of stage fright at my first hosting gig in school, to being confident with speaking to people of all levels of authority, I attribute my growth to those times I practiced public speaking at SMUBE,” she says.

All these come in useful for her current work as a producer for Channel NewsAsia’s current affairs television programmes and documentaries.

Producing TV programmes involves researching potential stories, pitching ideas, casting for suitable story profiles and conducting interviews, she says. Other duties include checking out shoot locations, sorting out logistics and props for video shoots, acquiring permission from location owners for filming, writing scripts, directing shoots, finding the right music to accompany shows and supervising video editors who assemble raw footage into TV programmes.

Connecting with passion

Four years into the broadcast business, Ms Low continues to love her work. She says: “Having the opportunity to listen to someone’s story and to tell it to the world is a great privilege.”

“Sometimes, simply the act of allowing someone to feel that they are being heard and understood, even if it’s by one person, is enough to make a difference.”

Her passion helped two of her documentaries receive acclaim.

Regardless Of Race won Documentary of the Year this year, at the Mediacorp News Awards, and is a finalist for Best Public Affairs Programme in the New York Festivals.

Don’t Kid Around was in the Official Selection for INPUT 2017, an international public television festival.

Ms Low remains in close contact with her alma mater and has interviewed SMU professors and students in the course of her work. Last year, she collaborated with the university to conduct a screening of Regardless Of Race.

She has hired interns from SMU and delivered guest lectures on the media industry to students studying the social sciences.

Several professors have also used snippets from her documentaries as part of their teaching materials.

Have a clear purpose

Applications for the scholarship is made the same time as the application to SMU. Applicants have to submit a personal essay and a letter of recommendation. Shortlisted applicants will be invited for a panel interview.

Ms Low suggests interested applicants to attend SMU’s open house to get a sense of the school’s culture, community and spirit.

Being clear on their purpose for pursuing a particular course of study is important too.

She says: “Think about what is really meaningful for you, or what piques your interest, rather than go for what you think others expect you to do.”

“Choose what is right for you because only you know yourself best.”