News plays major part in renewal
The Viet Nam News is about to celebrate the beginning of its third decade presenting Government information, news and insights on the history and culture of the Vietnamese people. Editor in chief Tran Mai Huong reviews its progress.
|Proud moment: General Director of Vietnam News Agency Tran Mai Huong shows VNA publications to Party General Secretary and National Assembly Chairman Nguyen Phu Trong. — VNA/VNS Photo Tri Dung|
|The news team: Energetic reporters and experienced editors keeps the newspaper fresh and interesting. — VNS Photo Truong Vi|
Effective channel of information Politburo member and Minister-Chairman of the Government Office, Nguyen Xuaân Phuc.
For the past 20 years, the Viet Nam News, the nation's first English language daily, published by Vietnam News Agency has performed well in disseminating policies from the Party and the State. This has led to regular and comprehensive information on the political, economic and social situation in Viet Nam.
The newspaper has also reported on key developments in the region and the world, making it one of the nation's effective channel of information for foreign readers.
In recent years, the newspaper has moved away from Government subsidies. Its small staff have lifted their efficiency and now raised the publication's own revenue, making it self supporting. In doing so, they have improved their expertise and armed themselves with modern techniques. This has also provided readers with more diverse and interesting information.
The Viet Nam News and its monthly publication, the Outlook, are produced in both print and electronic editions. The publications have created for themselves a firm position among readers inside and outside the country, especially among the community of overseas Vietnamese.
The newspaper regularly exchanges information with members of the Asia News Network, an organisation of 20 leading English – language newspapers throughout the Asian region. This provides news and information on Viet Nam that is intensifying its renewal within a developing and dynamic Asia.
In 2007 and 2008, the Viet Nam News also organised two Vietnam Economic Forums. These drew many foreign and Vietnamese policymakers, scholars, economists and journalists – and contributed to the integration of the nation on world scale.
Recognising these considerable contributions, the State decided to confer an Independence Order, Third Class, on the Viet Nam News. On behalf of the Government, I warmly congratulate, commend and thank you all for these outstanding efforts.
At present, the Party and people of Viet Nam are actively bringing to life the resolution of the Party's 11th Congress to use the strength of the whole nation to accelerate renewal. This is being done to lay foundations so that by 2020, Viet Nam will become a modern - oriented industrialised country strongly integrated into the world scene.
To meet the needs of this important period, the Viet Nam News should make full use of information technology to handle challenges posed by the downward trend of print newspapers throughout the world.
It must also broaden relations with regional and international media as well as be a pioneer in disseminating Party and State policies and guidelines.
The newspaper must also help popularise Viet Nam and its culture among overseas Vietnamese and foreign friends. This will help in the development of the nation as a trusted location for foreign investors and help raise its standing throughout the world.
To fulfill these heavy tasks, it is also essential that the newspaper possess a contingent of journalists with a solid political stance, good expertise and command of foreign languages, a clear understanding of realities and a firm grasp of modern technology. This will enable it to always uphold its social responsibilities and professional ethics.
We firmly believe that with the youth and enthusiasm of its 20 years' service – and under the leadership of the Party and with Vietnam News Agency as its guiding force – the Viet Nam News will continue to perform its noble function as one of the Party, State and people's most effective channels of information for foreign readers.
This will ensure the newspaper makes further worthy contributions to national construction and development – and to safeguarding the socialist Viet Nam Fatherland.
I wish you successes, good health and happiness.
1991 On June 17th,Viet Nam News first hit the news stands and was printed in four black and white pages.
1992 The weekly Sunday Viet Nam News was first introduced and since 1999 merged with the English language weekly Courier, another edition under the management of Vietnam News Agency.
1995 Viet Nam News daily upped its size to eight pages and after six months, doubled its size to 16 pages.
1997 Viet Nam News increased its size to 20 pages and have its logo remade with Vietnamese diacritic.
1998 The online edition was made available, marking an advanced step in the light of the digital revolution.
2002 the daily newspaper steadily increased its size from 20 to 24, 28 and 32 as of now. It is printed in colour and sold at the price of VND6,000.
2004 The monthly Outlook Magazine was launched with an aim to provide its readers with a broad but focused view of Viet Nam's transition and integration into the world's economy together with comprehensive reporting and analysis of the relevant issues.
Twenty years ago, on June 17, 1991, the Viet Nam News, the first and still only English-language daily in Viet Nam, hit the stalls in the first days of doi moi (renewal).
The publication of the English-language daily by the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) met the foreigner community's increasing need for information in Viet Nam. First the need was mainly from journalists and members of the diplomatic corps, but it later grew to satisfy the expanding contingent of tourists and businessmen and now a large section of Vietnamese who use English in their daily work as well as many students at domestic universities.
Right from its first issue, the Viet Nam News set for itself the task of helping readers, mostly foreign, obtain comprehensive and objective information on the guidelines and policies of the Vietnamese government, as well as political, economic and social situation in the renewal process. In addition, the Viet Nam News helps its followers understand the historical and cultural values, as well as the traditions of the Vietnamese people and country.
While performing its function as the daily news for foreign readers, as internet and e-mail were not yet available, the Viet Nam News brought the latest developments in the region and across the world.
The Viet Nam News thus made its initial steps in the direction of continued growth.
I would like to recall some of those milestones. In early 1995, only four years after the first issue which consisted of four black-and-white pages, the publication doubled in length to eight-pages. Six months later, it became 16 pages. On January 1, 1997, the newspaper increased to 20 pages with a new logo and the Vietnamese accent which is still used today. Continuing this development, the daily grew from 20 pages to 24, 28, to its current 32-page spread. In 2002, the first year of coloured print, the price was VND5,000.
In addition to the daily, the Sunday Viet Nam News weekly edition hit the stalls in 1992. Seven years later it took over the English-language Courier, another publication which had long been an affiliate of VNA.
The Viet Nam News Online was officially wired in 1998, marking a new development in the era of newspaper with digital technology.
Another Viet Nam News debut occurred in January 2004 with the Outlook Magazine, a monthly publication providing in-depth and comprehensive analysis of major issues in Viet Nam's current development.
The 70 million copies of print that have reached the hands of readers over the past 20 years, not to mention the millions of visits each week to the newspaper's electronic version, have placed the Viet Nam News in the leading public attention. It is no doubt a prestigious channel of political information for Viet Nam's foreign readers and media seekers.
The Viet Nam News' readership is now among the largest of those publications targeted at the international community. Every day copies of the newspaper are seen on tables in State offices, key localities, foreign embassies and offices, and major hotels. They are also brought by the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines on its domestic and international flights to major cities in the region and the world as a whole.
In its development, the Viet Nam News has enjoyed close guidance from the VNA leadership and the effective help of its departments and units. The Viet Nam News reporters are based across different bureaus, from northernmost Lang Son to southernmost Ca Mau provinces, from London to Moscow to New York. Help and co-operation also come from authorities, localities, embassies, international organisations, non-governmental and non-profit organisations, as well as its readers of print and electronic versions.
A large group of foreign experts and readers also regularly help the Viet Nam News by sending in their letters, articles and encouragement, in addition to pointing out shortcomings in a timely manner. We are thus able to create a two-way communication between editors and readers – those who decide the success of the newspaper.
With the collaboration between the newspaper's domestic and foreign offices and organisations, the Viet Nam News has engaged in many effective and practical projects besides providing information. Facilitated by the VNA leadership, the Viet Nam News gradually broadened its international co-operation. In 1999, the newspaper became a founding member of the Asia News Network, an organisation that publishes nearly 30 leading English-language newspapers in the region, including East Asia, South Asia, India, Japan, China and South Korea. In 2007 and 2008, with help from VNA, the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the ANN, the Viet Nam News successfully held the Viet Nam Economic Forum with more than 1,000 participants.
Reporters and editors of the newspaper have always demonstrated their passion for the job in their devotion to providing verified information in a timely way and conducting exclusive interviews to improve the newpaper's competitiveness. They are also active in self-training and re-training their journalistic skills, using equipment and field operation.
The group of technicians and the advertisement and distribution networks have tirelessly striven for beautiful and professional designs that reach the hands of readers as soon as possible.
The latest development of the newspaper is the production plan of TV programmes in English for the V-news channel. Reporters and editors who are accustomed to preparing print newspaper are now once again retraining themselves to accomplish their new task –making TV programmes.
After 20 years of operation, we are better able to fulfill our responsibility to remain updated in political issues and to raise the quality and efficiency of information disseminated. Through studying journalistic activities during the time of doi moi and being open in the current socialist-oriented market economy, suitable progress has been possible. Our spirit of self-reliance coupled with the increasing opportunities of co-operation lead to further development.
In fact, the Viet Nam News staff long ago parted with the conception that covering news for foreign readers means not having to worry about economic efficiency. Over the past many years, the Viet Nam News has not only successfully fulfilled its task of providing information but also improved the efficiency of its operation: ensuring income for its own development and paying its due part to the budget.
With its model of harmonious development in the northern region of Ha Noi, the southern region of HCM City, the initial development of the market in the central region of Da Nang City, with the combination of print and electronic versions, with the expansion of a VNS Communications Service Centre in 2010, with an impeccable management system, the Viet Nam News strives to reach its full potential and care for human resources while improving the efficiency of its operation. Its efforts are geared toward reaching a prestigious status among newspapers in the region and winning the hearts of more and more readers, both inside and outside the country. — VNS
* Tran Mai Huong is the General Director of the Vietnam News Agency and Editor in Chief of the Viet Nam News.