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the keshvani press employment Job Question & Answer
November 1999
Ngee Ann Polytechnic Mass Communication graduate Nisar Keshvani is currently completing his Masters in New Media at QUT. He is also the Editor of fineArt Forum and he shared with in Singapore his work philosophy and offered some advice for Singaporean students who are interested in studying in Australia.

Why did you choose to attend the Queensland University of Technology?
I chose QUT for a number of reasons. Firstly, I found the course had a sound structure and provided a full on practical experience. I had friends whom studied here, and learnt that it had a credible Journalism programme. Far from what you read in the papers about the 'Pauline Hanson Phenomenon', Brisbane is in fact, a nice place and the people are friendly.

"I am a firm believer in working beyond boundaries, and enjoy diversity.
There is so much yet to
discover and learn,
it's a life-long
learning process."

What are the work opportunities in Australia for an international student?
As an international student, you are allowed to work up to 20 hours a week, and full-time during holidays. However, since late 1998, you need to request for permission from the Department of Immigration to work.

There is campus assistance, the university provides listing of job opportunities, such as housesitting, typing services, courier services, and industrial attachment where possible. In terms of media-related work, as a newcomer, you need to be very enthusiastic. It is important to develop a strong portfolio, write for as many publications as you can. Try speaking to editors, making cold calls and pitching fresh ideas.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking of pursuing their studies in Australia?

I would say, thoroughly research what your options are; what you can study? What courses are available? What sorts of exemptions are available? How credible is the university, is it recognised by industry professionals? Which universities have better programmes and how established are they? How good are their academic staffs? What is your budget (work in all costs, living expenses, accommodation, food, and utilities)?

What is your Masters research about?
I have a keen interest in new media and technology, and my masters research examines the impact of the World Wide Web on news journalism and the changing work practices of journalists. The Straits Times (Interactive) and The Age Online (Melbourne) were my case studies, and I will be presenting my findings at media conferences later in the year.

I am currently on the verge of completing my studies, and work as a researcher on internationalising the journalism course here. We are looking at including international content and issues into the course curriculum and faciliating students with the opportunity to work in various global media organisations. My research interests include; new media technologies, media convergence, internationalisation, WWW content management, online journalism, web development and desktop publishing and layout.

What are your responsibilities as Editor of fineArt forum?
fAf is a pioneer non-profit online news service dedicated to the provision of news and information to the global arts and technology community. As editor, I manage a team of 20 staff who produce fineArt forum. Besides overseeing production and content, I am focused on steering its creative identity and forming alliances with arts and Internet organisations within the Asia Pacific region. Our current readership and ties are with Europe, USA, Australia and the western world.

What did you do before you came here?
After completing my 'O' levels, I headed to Ngee Ann Polytechnic to pursue a Diploma in Mass Communication. From the early days, I felt that it is important to balance schoolwork with industry experience. It exciting to be able to put to practice what you learn in the classroom, and I've enjoyed being involved with real world projects.

During my poly years, I worked as a freelance journalist, corresponded for an overseas magazine, dabbled in filmmaking. I was fortunate to have an industrial attachment with Television Corporation Singapore's Sports Unit. I think it's important to go for overseas exposure where possible and an opportunity arose for me to work as an intern in marketing communications in Vietnam.

As part of my national service, I was attached to the Singapore Police Force's Public Affairs Department. There, I produced their in-house monthly magazine, Police Life as a reporter for two years. I assisted with events management and extending hospitality to foreign delegates. After NS, I came over to Australia to for undergraduate study, and then went on to pursue to my postgraduate degree.

What are the benefits of getting some work experience before going for further studies?
I would say, with work experience in hand, there are clear benefits. A university education is not just about textbook-theory, and study. I think its an entry into the university of life, and with some work experience in hand, concepts make better sense, and you can apply your work experience to what you study and vice versa.

Are there any projects you are currently working on that you would like to talk about?
With fAf, some of our plans, include designing a dynamic shockwave website, developing a Singapore presence, and giving new and young emerging talent an avenue for exposure. Whilst studying, I have worked as an online educator, web master, and developed various websites.

Any final words of wisdom?
I am a firm believer in working beyond the boundaries, and enjoy diversity. There is so much yet to discover and learn, it's a life-long learning process. I hope to continue to work in new media, in a regional if not, international context. This is a very exciting time and the future of news journalism is changing ever so quickly. I believe it's all about giving the audience the news and services they want, and not the same old tired stuff.



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