July 23, 2012

Mentoring the Next Generation of Vietnamese Journalists

Do Minh Thuy, a 2005 Fulbright Foreign Student Program alumna from Vietnam, is the July State Alumni Member of the Month. After returning from her Fulbright exchange at the Indiana University School of Journalism (Bloomington), Thuy saw a need for more training and mentoring for young journalists and journalism students in Vietnam. In response, Thuy formed a network of high-profile journalism professionals, and together they set out to create Vietnam’s first-ever journalism training project. The project, led by volunteer journalism professionals who also studied in the United States, has received funding from a number of sources, including the Department of State’s Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund in 2011.

Since its inception in 2009, Thuy’s journalism training team has conducted 41 workshops-- reaching thousands of young journalists and journalism students at the Vietnam National University Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as well as students at Vietnam’s Academy of Journalism and Communications. In order to raise awareness of professionalism and ethics in Vietnamese journalism, these workshops engage students on topics including professional ethics, critical thinking skills, source verification skills, interview skills, new media, and TV news production and reportage. To support these trainings, Thuy and her team have drawn on the skills and expertise of nearly 20 Vietnamese Fulbright, Humphrey, and International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) alumni as well as other respected speakers from local and international news agencies.

Thanks to the success of Thuy’s trainings, a new network that connects young and established Vietnamese journalists has emerged in support of increased professionalism and ethics in Vietnamese journalism. The reach of this network continues to expand as these young media practitioners share what they have learned with other young reporters who are now creating their own journalism groups to discuss these important topics.

Thuy attributes the inspiration for her training program to her experience in the Fulbright program, stating, “The exchange program empowered me academically and professionally. It impacted my attitudes on professionalism, accountability, social responsibility, and community commitment. I became ready to involve myself in the discussion of journalism issues. Our trainings have helped ignite the flame and passion among young journalists.”