How to Be a Successful SCMP Conversations Writer

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Introduction

My name is Siu Ping, I graduated with a B.Sc in Applied Math and Physics, and since then I have been working at a research and development company as a software engineering intern. I am a software engineering (CSS, C++, Java, C#) and web design enthusiast. My hobbies include writing and playing music.

Being proficient at creative writing is a lifelong dream of mine. With the SCMP Conversation writing competition now up and running, I am looking forward to learning more about creative writing and writing more of such posts in the future.

While I am a bit rusty on English at the moment, my background in science and computer programming enabled me to understand computer science, and I was intrigued by the application of language and technical concepts to solve everyday problems.

The SCMP Conversations Writer’s Role

Cultivate and maintain an active imagination

Getting published in a global print publication such as The Straits Times can be a major milestone in any young journalist’s career.

It’s quite a task getting to grips with the myriad of English phrases to come out of the local lexicon. For those willing to study the papers a lot, it’s an even bigger challenge to get the right words to come out on the page.

What’s more, SCMP Conversations – at its heart – is a reader’s page. One of the biggest tools for a writer to get the reader involved is to write in a very conversational tone.

What Makes a Successful SCMP Conversations Writer?

Every day, the South China Morning Post publishes a fresh stream of newsworthy topics. The problem is that there’s too much that is not news. I’m a working SCMP Conversation writer, I edit, write, research and post articles for our Conversation series. The goal is to provide “exactly the sort of comment that is of interest to our readers.” Conversation articles are a mix of regular news, entertainment and analysis. We don’t use a structured format for creating such articles. Each article’s structure is decided by the author. Here’s what makes a successful SCMP Conversation writer.

First, go beyond answering a reader’s question.

We never ask readers for solutions. Instead, we ask readers for feedback on a topic.

Tips for the successful writer

By our reporter Jay Lau

While the South China Morning Post (SCMP) may be an institution of reputable reputation, running the pen down to its most basic form, it is still a business that must be financially viable, even if not for profit. And the common thread that unites all businesses in any field is whether they can attract revenue in order to continue operating.

Just as sales and marketing departments must innovate to get the highest sales rates possible, editors also have to think outside the box in order to attract a wider audience and to generate higher revenue, particularly in a technologically saturated market such as that in Hong Kong.

But it’s not all about the bottom line.

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