Freelancing on Occupy Central

Hong Kong is grabbing worldwide headlines in the past few days with the pro-democracy movement known as Occupy Central. Many foreign media descend to the Chinese territory to cover the protests. With some luck and connections, I was offered a few freelance fixing, translating and reporting opportunities.

SpiegelThe first opportunity was with a German newspaper, Spiegel, yesterday on the eve of China’s National Day. Thanks to my graduate school classmate, Lukas Messmer, I was his Cantonese-to-English translator. We profiled a few protesters in the Admiralty area on Harcourt Road: two 16-year-old high school students in their uniforms, a 59-year-old housewife and a 30-year-old logistics manager who was on vacation. I’m happy to see a mention of my name at the end of the piece.

After I put my name down on a Hong Kong freelancer list this morning, I got a callAP from the Associated Press within hours looking for help on reporting. I was pumped and instantly felt the adrenaline rush. I was tasked with gathering quotes from protesters in the Causeway Bay area. One of the stories was out this evening and it was written by AAJA-Asia member Joanna Chiu. I was honored to have my name next to some veteran journalists, “Associated Press writers Elaine Kurtenbach, Louise Watt and Wendy Tang in Hong Kong and Aritz Parra in Beijing contributed to this report.”

On the same day, I was offered the opportunity to “fix” a story with a Russian television station, REN TV, meaning to coordinate interview logistics, and being an extra pair of eyes and ears to the crew. I tried to talk myself out of accepting a second gig at the same time, but the producer persuaded me to accept the gig because I could do it remotely. Let’s see how I could use my time wisely tomorrow. Regardless, all of them are great learning opportunities.

Other AP stories I contributed reporting:

Hong Kong protests hit city’s role as finance hub

Hong Kong protesters set for talks; govt HQ shuts

Hong Kong pictures show rage meeting defiance as ugly clashes break out over pro-democracy protests

Hong Kong protesters stage massive, defiant rally

Hong Kong protesters fade; students vow to carry on

Hong Kong police arrest 209 protesters, demolish main camp

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