Vietnamese Journalists to Learn Ways of Western Media During Workshop

Professors give Vietnamese journalists a  crash course in principles of the free press.

The College of Mass Communications and The Vietnam Center at Texas Tech University will hold a two-week event to help Vietnamese journalists understand how American-style free press works.

The seminar, "Journalism Practices in the United States: A Texas Tech Workshop for the Vietnam News Agency," will take place May 13-26 in Lubbock and Dallas.

While here, two working journalists, a Vietnam News Agency administrator and a Vietnamese government official will get a crash course in American journalism and tour several local and state news agencies, said Randy Reddick, professor of journalism.

"This started as an e-mail exchange about a year ago," Reddick said of the workshop. "We began to work out some kind of curriculum for these people. The bottom line is they don’t understand our system at all, and they want to understand it. Advertising. Free press. How do you run a newspaper? The concept of free and open debate is a little bit strange to them."

James Reckner, director of The Vietnam Center, said plans for the Vietnam News Agency workshop began after international news broke in October 2005 about the Tram Diaries. These diaries chronicled the life of Dr. Dang Thuy Tram, a North Vietnamese doctor killed in action in the northern part of South Vietnam in 1970, and it became an item of national interest throughout Vietnam.

"When we had our first direct meeting with representatives of the Vietnam News Agency in January of this year, the agency had, at that point, just completed a new journalism training center in Ho Chi Minh City," Reckner said. "Our Vietnamese partners were keen to increase the professionalism of their journalism, and thus asked us to arrange a seminar for them.

"I feel certain the Vietnamese journalists will have much to learn about journalism in the United States. I am certain they will absorb a lot of information and also establish important professional relationships that will last for many years. I know, too, that whatever they learn here, while adding to their general understanding of journalism, will have to be adapted to fit the unique circumstances of Vietnam today."

Some of the workshop events include:

• Opening reception and dinner – 6:15 p.m. Sunday (May 13) Merket Alumni Center on the Texas Tech campus.

• Vietnam Center briefing – 2:45 p.m. Tuesday (May 15) in the Marshall Formby room of the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library on the Texas Tech campus.

• Museum of Texas Tech University visit – 4:15 p.m. Thursday (May 17), Museum of Texas Tech University, Fourth Street and Indiana Avenue.

• National Ranching Heritage Center tour – 1 p.m. Saturday (May 19), Ranching Heritage Center, 3121 Fourth St.

The media can attend any of the events during the 13-day workshop. For more information, or to cover any of the events, contact Randy Reddick.

CONTACT: Randy Reddick, journalism professor, College of Mass Communication, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-2136, r.reddick@ttu.edu;
James Reckner, director, The Vietnam Center, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-3742, james.reckner@ttu.edu.