In today’s news media landscape in which media is converging and changing journalistic practices, particularly in using multimedia to produce news for various delivery platforms, ACFJ has instituted new ways to educate journalists and raise the standards of Asian journalism.
Dr. Violet Valdez, PhD, ACFJ executive director, said the Center’s new program Diploma in Multimedia Journalism was a key response to ‘ help journalists face this brave new world of journalism.” Introduced last May, the one-year program provides journalists a broad perspective and the practical skills in the emerging forms of journalism based on the Internet and other digital platforms.
She spoke at a workshop on New Media and Democracy to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of the Department of Media and Communication (DMC) of the Royal University of Phnom Penh on 21 October 2011 in Cambodia. DMC has played an important role in training Cambodian students to be professional journalists, media and communication practitioners with the support from Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, GIZ, DAAD and other partners.
Dr. Valdez said ACFJ has offered new courses in the M.A. Journalism program, one of them being multimedia journalism. Changes in the way courses are delivered have also been introduced, particularly in using new media. In all of the three programs being offered, the MA Journalism, and the diplomas in photojournalism and multimedia journalism, she said that ACFJ has adopted the hybrid online learning approach. This requires students to come to Manila for two short periods, at the beginning and end of the program.
Teachers also produce videos of their works or record their lectures. These are then uploaded in the online classroom and can be viewed by the students anytime during the semester.
Through our learning system, Dr. Valdez said ACFJ is able ‘to reach many professional journalists around Asia and tap on to many excellent teachers in Asia as well as in Europe, North America and Australia.’
During the anniversary dinner, Cambodian Minister of Information Khieu Kanharith stressed the importance of DMC, expressing support for the setting up of its own radio station in the future. He thanked KAS for its professional work and introduced the ongoing KAS-Ministry of Information/Ministry of Interior Programme to train provincial spokespersons to professionalize their skills needed to connect with local media and inform them about local government policies.
Ten years ago, ACFJ was a partner in assisting DMC craft a curriculum in journalism and mass communication.
At the workshop on new media and democracy in Cambodia. Mr. Peou Chivoin, DMC lecturer, gave the keynote address on the topic, New Media: New political and civic space for young Cambodians.” He cited the power of new media to empower young people in pursuing civic and political participation, but said its potential would depend on two conditions.
First, young people have to take the time and effort to engage themselves actively in new media as a new room for learning and action. And second, Mr. Chivoin said that access to new media and skills in using them appropriately are indispensible if young people are to be able to harness the resources of new media.
DMC graduates also shared their perspectives during the half-day workshop. Mr. Prum Seila, IRI program officer, spoke on new media and election campaign, stressing the importance of new media as an information tool to remind the youth to register for voting. Ms. Chea Lyda, DMC assistant lecturer, described in her presentation the positive psychological effects blogging could have on young woman, who after having experienced feedback from other bloggers increase their self-esteem. Mr. Tith Chandara, DMC assistant lecturer, underlined the important role of social media as a tool for ad hoc and immediate documentation of injustice.
Ms. Rabea Brauer, KAS country representative in Vietnam, also shared her insights of new media in Vietnam. She addressed the restrictive policies of the Vietnamese government regarding the access to politically sensitive information. She pointed out that the ban on social media like Facebook could be easily bypassed by young Vietnamese.