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Indonesian journalist Amanda Wardhani gets "first-hand experience with China" as a student in the Global Business Journalism program


Amanda Kasuma Wardhani is a graduate of the Global Business Journalism program (GBJ) from Indonesia.
Amanda Wardhani at the World Youth Energy Tour

By NGUYEN HA LINH

Global Business Journalism reporter


Amanda Kusuma Wardhani, an experienced Indonesian journalist, took an unconventional turn in her career by enrolling as a master’s student at Tsinghua University’s School of Journalism and Communication. At Tsinghua, she discovers new perspectives through the beauty of Chinese culture and the unique stories told by the school’s diverse student body.


By the time Wardhani joined Tsinghua in September 2022, she had been working at one of Indonesia’s oldest business newspapers for nine years. Her decision was driven by a desire for a new perspective on journalism.


“Sometimes, if you’ve been in the same field for a long time, you can feel stuck doing the same tasks, following the same routine,” said Wardhani. “I wanted something different within journalism but in a fresh setting.” 


Wardhani learned about the Global Business Journalism program offered by Tsinghua’s School of Journalism and Communication through one of her former colleagues. The program’s collaboration with Bloomberg, the globally recognized financial news and data company, coupled with its compelling curriculum, prompted Wardhani to submit her application. 


“Technology and the fight against misinformation are drastically reshaping journalism," she said. "I was able to witness those changes firsthand as a journalist. Getting accepted to study at GBJ gives me the opportunity to more thoroughly examine them from the academic approach."


Amanda Kasuma Wardhani is a Global Business Journalism GBJ graduate from Indonesia.
Amanda Wardhani (center) joins classmates after her successful thesis defense in May 2024.

Wardhani described the program as offering “a perfect mix” of Chinese and Western journalism, blending academic knowledge with practical experiences facilitated by a faculty consisting of both well-respected professors in academia and veteran journalists from renowned international media outlets. 


“It’s incredible. I got to learn how to make the most out of both the extensive academic resources from Tsinghua Library and the real-time market data news from the famous Bloomberg Terminal,” she said. “You don’t always get this opportunity.”

 

Amanda Wardhani: Diversity brings inspiration


When she started her master’s program, Wardhani had already had more experience working as a journalist compared to the average of her peers. Yet, this did not lower the richness of her learning experience. 


“No matter how experienced you are, there’s always more to learn,” Wardhani emphasized.


She recalled the time when one of her classes had a multimedia project as the final assignment. Despite her own journalistic experience, she was still amazed by the varied angles and storytelling methods used by her classmates. 


“I was impressed by how a group used interactive games and sleeping diaries instead of conventional written news articles to present the topic of sleep deprivation. The topic may be familiar, but they made it hit closer to home,” she recalled. “People grew up with their own unique stories, so the way they analyze and deliver a topic will also be unique.”


During her first year in China, Wardhani visited 17 different cities across the country, eager to meet new people and listen to their stories. These experiences, along with the multicultural environment at Tsinghua, provided her with more insights into the distinctive characteristics of Chinese journalism. 



Despite cultural differences leading to different values, Wardhani said she could still see the professionalism in Chinese journalism and was impressed by the skill of Chinese journalists in delivering high-quality journalism. 


“This realization came after I watched a very moving CGTN documentary on the left-behind children in rural China. In the end, our job is still essentially the same: to record and report information in the public’s interests,” said Wardhani. 


Having successfully defended her master's thesis on May 13, she is scheduled to graduate on June 28. Looking ahead, Wardhani aims to bridge cultural gaps through her writing by bringing nuanced insights to the readers, just as she expressed in her application essay to Tsinghua. 


Being here gives me a different proximity. I got to have first-hand experience with China and its culture. It allows me to have a more informed narrative about the country,” she said. 


>>> This article was first published on Tsinghua University WeChat

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This GIF accompanies an article about Amanda Wardhani of GBJ.

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