Thursday, December 22, 2016

From Student to Best Journalist

A typical day for Billy Ker starts at 4.00pm when he reports to The New Paper (TNP) newsroom and works on his assignments until the newspaper is sent for printing at around 1.00am. As an infographics journalist, he conceptualises eye-catching graphics to go with the news articles so that readers can understand the story better through the visualisation.

Sounds like a lot of drawing for Billy. But it’s certainly not a bad thing for someone who has always been fascinated by cartoons and animation, especially those from Disney. So the passion for animation started rather young for Billy.

After his ‘O’ levels, Billy naturally gravitated towards his passion. He visited Nanyang Polytechnic’s (NYP) Open House and learned that the polytechnic offered an animation course that was pretty specialised and made it his first choice during the Joint Admissions Exercise.

His three-year NYP journey was as fruitful one.

“The course prepared me for the real world, in areas such as meeting deadlines and managing expectations. As a journalist, we have extremely tight deadlines, and NYP and DigiPen, where I continued my studies, taught me how to handle stress,” says Billy.

Billy did his internship with Black Magic Design. “I learned a lot from them, and even went back to work part-time for them after graduating from NYP whilst waiting for national service” says Billy of the company which is one of the world's leading innovators and manufacturers of creative video technology.

The strong foundation that he acquired from NYP helped him settle in well when he went on to the DigiPen-Singapore Institute of Technology to pursue his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Arts and Animation.

Although Billy originally intended to enter the visual effects industry, he ventured into the print media business as an infographics artist instead. Not long after joining TNP, he realised that a lot of the skills he had gained from his NYP and DigiPen education, such as storyboarding, motion graphics and illustration, are vital for his work as an infographics journalist.

If there’s passion, half the battle is won. In Billy’s case, his passion led him to win the Young Journalist of the Year Award in March 2016, in recognition for his excellence in infographics, illustrations and other visuals, such as those that he created for the FIFA World Cup 2014 and SG50 Celebrations stories. He is also the first artist from TNP to win this award which is usually won by journalists.

And this was not his first award! He joined TNP in 2013 and in the following year, he took his first award for Best Page Design in the 2014 English, Malay, Tamil Media Awards. He is also a rare double winner of two Society for News Design Awards for Feature Design Pages, in 2013 and 2014, in the
Best of News Design Competition.

“The most rewarding aspect of my job is actually seeing the work published on a regular basis and getting it shared on social networks,” says Billy.

He knew his passion and went after it. At NYP, we nurtured him to make the best of his passion.

Because We Can

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