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Up close and personal

For Ms Yeo Chun Hing, 27, being a journalist means getting a front-row seat to historic world events as they unfold.

As a NewsHub journalist with Singapore Press Holdings’ Chinese Media Group, Ms Yeo covers the political and housing beats for both Lianhe Zaobao and Lianhe Wanbao.

At the 2018 North Korea–United States summit in June, Lianhe Zaobao was one of the few media outlets that was given access to the event at its Capella Hotel location, and she was tasked to cover it.

Ms Yeo says: “When it came to the official handshake, as journalists, we were so busy covering every detail, such as what they said or their micro-expressions, that it was difficult to recognise at that moment the magnitude of what we were witnessing.”

“It was only much later, after everything settled down, that it hits you — that it was a historic moment that you just witnessed,” she adds.

Her desire to write for a Chinese newspaper was strengthened after she completed her first year at China’s Peking University, where she pursued a double degree in Chinese language and literature and international relations. Ms Yeo also had a clear idea of where she wanted to work.

She says: “I wanted to report on news responsibly, so that readers can have a clear understanding of the issues of the day. I felt that SPH provides adequate resources in this area. They also have a pool of senior journalists with the relevant experience who we can learn from.”

That led to her applying for and receiving the SPH Mid-Term Scholarship, which she recommends due to its flexible nature of allowing recipients to pursue most fields of study, and the abundance of internship opportunities.

She says: “You wouldn’t be coming in blind. Even before you are offered the scholarship, you have to go through an internship, which will allow both you and the company to know if you are a good fit.”

To succeed at being a journalist, Ms Yeo thinks that a sense of curiosity is essential. Instead of taking things at face value, she stresses the importance of exploring issues at a deeper level, and presenting them in a way that would best connect with people, because “only then would you have good stories”.

Another quality she deems important is a sense of empathy, and the ability to stand in other people’s shoes, to understand how best to convey their concerns and viewpoints.

“Not everyone is eloquent, so it is important to listen well and really understand what they are trying to say because sometimes, you have to help them to put their thoughts into words,” she says.