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Sports commentating – it’s time to jump out of the box!

The final day of classes in the first phase of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Junior Sports Reporters Programme saw renowned sports commentator Daniel Chan teach students the skills of being a sports commentator. He began by talking about breaking the rules, and hoped that the students would be able to “jump out of the box and break from traditional rules.” He also shared how his own powerpoint presentation that day broke from tradition by having the Q&A session come at the beginning instead of the end. Chan explained that as a commentator, it’s most important to be well prepared. “Just doing a bit more work than others will put you at an advantage. Also, you need to master everything you’ve learned before you can put it into practice.” He reminded students that they need to be different in order to set themselves apart and stand out from the crowd.

The students, who are all enthusiastic sports fans, then learned how to be commentators. Among the group were six students who were chosen to take part in a commentating role play exercise. Although they didn’t have a lot of time to prepare, and not enough data was available, each of the six participants turned in a great performance. The other students also joined in the excitement by listening to them commentate, and laughing along with them at their comical slip-ups. Junior Reporter Douglas said: “Usually when watching sports, I think all the commentators need to do is ramble on, but actually they need to describe what they’re seeing as soon as it happens, which isn’t as easy as it seems!”

Reporters in Hong Kong usually need to be “bilingual and tri-literate”, especially in sports or when reporting from overseas. Among a reporter’s daily tasks is translating overseas news reports. Philip Chan, Executive Managing Editor of News and Business Information of now TV, shared the challenges of translation with the students: “Although the words in foreign news reports may appear simple, it isn’t easy to translate them into something that makes sense and reads smoothly.” To prove it, he showed an English article to the class, and told them: “I’m using this to recruit new people, and so far out of 60 people, only one person has passed.” He then challenged the students, saying: “Whoever can translate this well, I’ll immediately hire!”

The afternoon saw the students take the lead. They split up into eight groups and worked on their projects, which they then explained in detail to the class mentors. Each group did their best to convince them to produce their project.

After five days of lessons and two field trips, the first phase of the programme came to a close and was celebrated with a barbeque. Before eating, the class mentors, assessment teams, and staff shared their feelings of the first phase and encouraged the students to prepare for the second phase. More than 10 students also expressed their feelings, after which Programme Head and mentor Li Tak Nang said: “Your thoughts were very moving, and the enthusiasm you have shown is much more than we could have expected, so much so that we’ve almost forgotten that we’re here for a barbeque!” Students from the past four years joined the evening’s festivities, bringing the total number at the party to over 60, and making the first phase of this year’s programme an unforgettable one.

In the second phase, the student reporters will cover the Hong Kong Games and take part in themed productions and live webcasts, all to have a taste of working as sports professionals and to expand their potential as journalists, commentators, photographers and researchers.

For more information on the HKJC Junior Sports Reporters Programme, please visit our website (in Chinese only) or follow us on Facebook.