Tan Su Lin on her experience and the new age of journalism

By Azra Farzana Shuib

GOMBAK, 15 April 2017: Award-winning Astro Awani reporter Tan Su Lin has cast light on the new shift in the journalism field, particularly on mobile journalism, big data journalism and the paramount importance of social media.

Tan Su Lin was invited to share her wealth of journalism experience with IIUMToday team.

In the two-hour session yesterday (14 April), she spoke frankly on interesting points that touched the role of a broadcast journalist in the present era where she addressed the importance of mobile journalism through engaging the audience in social media.

“Thousands of our audience watch our videos on social media every day,” she said, adding that Astro Awani engages its audience using various platforms on social media, such as FBlive and hashtags like ‘#AWANIbyte’ and ‘#AWANI360’.

The speaker explained that big data journalism has also played a big part in today’s news flow. It is where tremendous amount of data, big statistics and a huge number of facts are compressed into an understandable and a lively way of presentation. She cited a report made by Astro Awani on domestic violence as an example. Here’s the link to the video: https://www.facebook.com/astroawani/videos/10154379876820965/

Of particular interest is how she showed that journalism nowadays has shifted to be more engaging and in-depth. During her reporting of the Ulu Tembeling River in Pahang, Tan Su Lin showed the saddening condition of the river that followed the destruction of environment, using a drone while doing the stand-upper for television reporting. Here’s the link to the video: https://www.facebook.com/TanSuLinAWANI/videos/139730913214056/

She also shared useful tips to do stand-upper and cross-over to the audience for aspiring journalists.

“It’s not about you just talking in front of the camera. Engage the audience by showing them what is going on and give viewers the latest information. If the information is not received yet, it’s also okay to tell your audience, like saying ‘so far we have not yet received any information from the authority…’, but do your research and tell your audience what you know so far,” she said.

She mentioned that since audiences’ attention span now is very short, broadcast media practitioners need to be creative to engage with the viewers by telling them “what we know, what we don’t know” and “what you need to know” and the 3N concept (New, Now, Next).

With her ten years of experience in the field, Tan Su Lin is no stranger in the journalism industry. Environment, community and human rights issues are her areas of interest and specialisation. One of her most memorable experience is when she did news reporting in the “red zone” in Somalia in 2011, which witnessed a Malaysian cameraman from BERNAMA killed in the ‘conflict’.

“We went there in an aircraft together. He was such a nice guy and a good leader for the media team. Just imagine we went there together, and came back with a coffin in the same plane. Every reporting that I’ve done has its own challenges. But, that was the most memorable one,” said Tan Su Lin.

Over the years, she has won many awards, like the Ministry of Health Award in 2009, Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) Award in 2012, Malaysia Greentech Award in 2013, and Best News Video Award at Malaysia Press Institute-PETRONAS Journalism Award in 2013. Her latest and most significant achievement is representing Malaysia for the CNN Journalism Fellowship 2014 at Atlanta, United States in 2014.

“CNN is like the Disneyland for journalists,” she said, reminiscing her achievements.

“I have deep passion in journalism and with all the awards that I have won, it only motivates me to go further,” Tan Su Lin said.***


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