The following blog post was written by Emma Richards, senior writer for Asian Correspondent. Richards joined Hybrid in January 2017 as a rookie journalist, and in her first year alone, has produced content for four of its web brands, from education to technology, travel and current affairs. In her words:
There’s only one word for my time at Hybrid: Rollercoaster.
Since joining 18 months ago, I’ve not only been able to fulfil some of my most farfetched and fanciful journalism dreams but also learnt more about the industry than I ever could have in a classroom.
The decision to completely overhaul my career certainly wasn’t an easy one (believe it or not, I was in construction before joining the media). I knew I was taking a risk. I knew I would be starting from scratch. And most terrifying of all, what if I just wasn’t any good at it?!
But my fears turned out to be misplaced (although the jury’s still out on the last point), and my first few months showed me I’d made the right choice.
Far from starting at the bottom, Hybrid threw me right into the editorial tempest and had me researching, writing, editing and publishing my own articles straight from day one.
Under the guidance of our #awesome editor and experienced super sleuth, Clara Chooi, I was quickly picking up the skills I need to look deeper and get to the heart of an article.
On top of tackling some of the big issue topics in current events and regional politics, I also got to try my hand at a whole range of different writing styles by working on all of Hybrid’s four field-leading websites.
From travel to education, learning to tailor my voice to different audiences and connecting with the client are skills I’ll take with me through the rest of my career.
As my writing skills began to grow, so too did my opportunities.
It wasn’t long before I was attending international conferences, hunting out stories and meeting with the decision makers and influencers in each field.
During my time working across the sites, I’ve been able to attend the United Nations WTO Global Summit on Urban Tourism, the World Urban Forum, and the moving Malaysia Refugee Festival, to name just a few.
One close to my heart is the Youth Forum at the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development (APFSD). I travelled to Bangkok to cover the event and met with some truly inspiring young people.
— Emma Richards (@EmmaRichards85) March 24, 2018
The energy throughout the three-day event was tangible. Each advocate, with their own personal mission to improve the lives of the marginalised, showed me the power of persistence and reinforced for me the importance of getting their message out to the wider world.
But of all the events attended, interviews carried out, ministers met, there’s one highlight that stands out as a real (geeky) dream come true.
In June 2018, I received official approval to attend the US-North Korea Summit in Singapore.
Considering just 18 months earlier I was sitting in an office trawling through construction tenders and watching the clock for the end of the day, boarding the early morning flight to Singapore felt very surreal.
This was the type of event I hoped I would eventually attend after years of building my name in the industry, certainly not only 18 months in and still wet behind the ears.
It was dubbed the “Summit of the century”. And for good reason.
It was about US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un coming together to form an odd and jarring bromance that could potentially bring about one of the most significant geopolitical shifts of our lifetime.
None of this happens in a vacuum. The eyes of the world were trained on Singapore. People wanted to know everything, from the shared glances and uncomfortable small talk to the foreign policy changes and human rights discussions.
Getting that message out falls to the hoards of journalists, camera people, sound guys, presenters and technicians that packed themselves into the International Media Centre (IMC) at Singapore’s F1 Pit Building.
One such journalist was this guy right here.
Well that's it, all done. Crazy times. 18 months ago this was all a pipe dream for me. Now I've been in the media pit for one of the biggest political events of our lifetime. What a ride! Thanks y'all @AsCorrespondent pic.twitter.com/SS2ysvScRE
— Emma Richards (@EmmaRichards85) June 12, 2018
The media pit was labelled the nerve centre of the summit and that’s exactly how it felt; frantic, busy, chaotic and non-stop.
The stories I covered and the insider knowledge I got from the endlessly fascinating journalists I met – from The New York Times and BBC to NHK and South China Morning Post – were truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.
From this springboard, I’ve since become a regular commentator on regional issues for several international radio stations, such as LBC and TalkRadio, and been sought out by veteran journalists for my (yes, little old me) opinion.
What comes next is up to me. But if the last 18 months are anything to go by, it’s going to be one hell of a ride.
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