We give the spotlight to Taylor’s College media lecturer, Mr Justin Lopez. Read on as he shares his insights about the media industry in Malaysia.
The first of this series, we talk to Mr Justin Lopez, Senior Lecturer II of Taylor’s College to share some insights about the media industry, his teaching techniques, and some tips about mass communication jobs in Malaysia. His journey as an academician began in 2001 as a tutor specialising in providing technical lessons and guidance to students in audio-visual production. He’s also received the The EMAS (Exemplary Meritorious Academic Staff) Award which is given to academic staff who introduce innovative techniques and pedagogies in their teaching delivery, amongst other awards.
Currently, he’s a lecturer of the Audio Visual Production for Foundation in Arts and Foundation in Communication as well as TV Production for Diploma in Communication.
A: It’s got to be The Shawshank Redemption. The film isn’t centred on the crime elements solely but instead applied a universal approach that’s relatable to anyone in whatever circumstances. Academically, the film demonstrates the upheaval challenges of students’ life and perseverance in succeeding their goals and mission.
A: In the 1990’s the term ‘Information Technology’ (IT) was a buzzword to many high school leavers. I was fascinated with computer technology. Therefore, being raised in a small-town emigrating to the city post-SPM is a dream to be given an opportunity to continue learning and discover.
But, my real passion lies in Audio-Video production due to substantial viewing and listening of media content on radio and television with the sense of curiosity of ‘how they do it’. In fact, when I was in my early teens, I recalled my curiosity in television by dismantling an old unused television parts-by-parts just to see what the components of a cathode ray tube are, based on television and immersed with the joy that these are the components that made me discover television broadcasts. Thus, in late 1990s I’d the privilege to enrol in an undergraduate programme locally that specialises in Film & Television which is a dream come true.
A: My decision to immerse myself into academia was purely for the joy in educating and facilitating students to achieve their mission. Furthermore, the collaboration between a lecturer and students saw positive potential in nurturing the young minds into professions with confidence and job-readiness. Meanwhile my industrial experience had taught me resilience, life-long learning, and communication practice relatable to the academia profession.
A: “Difficult to get jobs!” — That’s the pinnacle among students. To be honest, a small percentage of graduates have challenges in securing employment in the media industry. But eventually, they obtain relevant employment that suits them after multiple efforts. In comparison to decades ago, the media industry solely relied on radio and television. Fast-forward today, there’s a broad range of media diversity in a graduates’ consideration from traditional media to digital media. The media technology became sophisticated and resourceful to media practitioners enabling an ownership of media content and dissemination.
My advice to my students is to be bold, spark creativity, edge ahead of the rest and have a great personality, humility, and willingness to learn and explore. Therefore, the current narrative is that the media industry in Malaysia is revolving with a new landscape of opportunity for every graduate.
A: The Audio-Visual Production (AVP) is a module that introduces the essence of audio-visual in assignments that covers a broad range of production aesthetics. Students are exposed to the basics that set a sustainable foundation in video production thus elevating the opportunity in creative approach. Meanwhile, in Television Production (TVP), students are equipped with the basics of production prior enabling contents that require research in the production.
Both modules require production teams in undertaking production roles from technical to artistic. They pave inner discovery talents which the students partake throughout the semester. This allows students to learn new production knowledge and execution. In the end, the uncertainty and self-esteem were put into the spotlight, and I’m proud to say, they’ve overcome it positively.
A: My philosophy of teaching is shaped from a combination of industrial experiences and academic experiences consisting of the experiences as a videographer, an educator, and basic principles of life to shape socially conscientious and responsible individuals for a better society.
As an educator, I learned from observing and interacting with my students and seeking ways to improve the conditions of learning in my classroom, by understanding the needs, experiences, and feelings of my students. Unlike my former teachers, I try to make lessons lively and interactive by involving students. I’ll include tasks related to the topic and ask groups to research, discuss, and construct arguments. This way, students will feel responsible for their own learning and cultivate independent and self-directed learning. Knowledge that’s self-discovered will be remembered more effectively.
I also incorporated real issues that occur in the film-video industry into lessons because the courses I teach are informative and real-life video shooting processes. The topics could be serious and in-depth, thus requiring me to provide relatable examples from current developments and research from the field to share with the students. To encourage active learning, I usually give them assignments related to industry practice. For example, radio production, video commercial, music video, critical film viewing which require them to do extensive research using current resources to provide solutions. I’ve also invited industry clients to brief the students on potential video projects that are collaborated into academic coursework. These initiatives brought students to participate in workshops conducted by people in the industry to gain first-hand exposure.
As the media industry requires practitioners to have a good amount of digital literacy and skills, I incorporated audio-video software technology into my teaching so that students would be competent at using digital tools when they perform their coursework assignments. This is in hope to enhance their digital skills besides being able to explore and learn on their own initiative.
Pictured: Taylor's broadcasting students who won the ECOWorld recruitment video contest, winning them RM5000 and a chance to work with ECOWorld.
A: I would like to shortlist FOUR (4) Project-Based Learning (PBL) as a project supervisor / module leader.
A: “The proudest moment for me is when a student achieves an outcome after countless challenges. Some of the students shared their disbelief not knowing they’re talented individuals who only needed the right opportunity and setting to make it happen.
To date, many of my students are in a wide array of industries transcending from academic into professional careers. Therefore, the sense of gladness to me is when my past and present students share a common wisdom of BELIEVE.
A: BELIEVE that someday you’ll reach there. Sustain all the good qualities that you’ve been nurtured by loved ones. Stay healthy physically and mentally. There’ll be rough tides but persevere in your mission. I’ll end with a quote by legendary filmmaker, Steven Spielberg, “I don't dream at night, I dream at day, I dream all day; I'm dreaming for a living.”
Spoken like a true media expert! If you aspire to be in the media industry, we hope you’ve learned valuable insights from this conversation to pursue your dreams.
Got questions on how to get started? Our counsellors are here for you to tell you everything you need to carve your pathway into the world of mass media.
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