In July 2018, going to Bangkok to attend the training course on “Field Safety and Cyber Security” for journalist was my first time going abroad on my own. The training was organized by the Southeast Asia Media Training Network (SEAMTN), a project of Fojo Media Institute focusing implementation of media development in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. Logistically, it was quite an experience between the instruction I received from the project team, and the buzzling busy Suvanabumi Airport, in Bangkok. I made it to the hotel with a little bit of sweat.

We talked about rapidly changing nature of journalism with the influence technology and social media. And, we discussed the role of a journalist in the newsroom but it was still something foggy. Getting invitation from Online Archive and Press Assistance Centre (OAPAC) to attend the training, I saw that as an opportunity to improve my knowledge, both as a trainer, and especially in my managerial role in my newsroom—Ho Chi Minh City Law Newspaper. Knowledge that trainers, who were veteran journalists shared during the training was a life vest that helped me understand the role of journalism and journalists in a bigger picture beyond Vietnam.

When I came back to my newsroom, I had an echo-session sharing what I have learnt during the training in Bangkok. My editorial board asked me and managers to draft internal guidelines for our newsroom. While we were finalizing it, I got a phone call from Hang Dinh, a director of Vietnam Journalist Training Centre (VJTC) requesting me to deliver a 2-day safety training for VJCT, both in Hanoi and in Ho Chi Minh City. The trainings took place consecutively in August 2018.

Without hesitation, I willingly accepted this challenge with the support of Nguyen Ngoc Hung, another participant sent by VJTC to the Fojo’s course in Bangkok. It was the first time pushing my boundary to be a lead trainer.

Bui Thanh Tamleads the Safety of Journalist Training for VJTC in Hanoi afterhe joined the 5-day Safety Course in Bangkok, hosted by Fojo Media Institute.

The first day of the training in Hanoi, I was so nervous with so many questions spinning in my head, as part of readiness for any queries from the trainees. The course went smoothly, participants increasingly engaged and discussed toward the end of the course. It was a relief witnessing they remembered what I shared from the first day.

During the second training in Ho Chi Minh City, the level of my confidence grew better. I did not need an assistant. I also reshaped my training materials and methods, added more tools and topics of discussion after hearing the reflection at the training in Hanoi. We had a very engaging discussion throughout the training. Many participants came to say how grateful they were to have a chance to learn from me.

In reflection, I am content with myself to be able to flow my knowledge to other practicing journalists. They may not turn to be a trainer overnight, but they can take it back and use it for themselves as well as for their own newsrooms. For me, I rise up to be in a new role as “a journalism trainer”.

Report by Hoa Ta Quynh and Nai Nai

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Note: Online Archive and Press Assistance Centre (OAPAC), and Vietnam Journalist Training Centre (VJTC) are partners of Fojo Media Institute in Vietnam for the project–South East Asia Media Training Network (SEAMTN)– that aims to improve capacity for journalism training centers in the region.