Vietnam News Agency General Director Nguyễn Đức Lợi. VNA/VNS Photos
Nguyễn Đức Lợi, General Director of the Vietnam News Agency, speaks about the agency's transition process on the occasion of the 95th anniversary of Vietnamese Revolutionary Press Day (June 21).
Can you talk about the process to turn the Vietnam News Agency into a major national multimedia agency in recent years?
Developing multimedia and multi-platform journalism is a common trend in the world today. The Vietnam News Agency has taken concrete steps in recent years, and in fact has become a multimedia agency, developing all types: print, radio, television, online newspaper and books. With all kinds of information on modern technical platforms, the Vietnam News Agency constantly strengthens the position of a news agency to provide original/source information to domestic and international press agencies and provides information directly to the public.
The VNA operates under the consortium model with 16 news units for domestic and foreign service (consisting of five editorial departments including domestic news, world news, news for foreign service, economic news and press photography, two news centres including a television centre and a database-documentation and infographic centre and eight editorial offices including Tin Tuc (The News) newspaper, VietnamPlus e-newspaper, The thao & Van hoa (Sports & Culture) newspaper, Ethnic Minority and Mountainous Region Pictorial, Vietnam Pictorial, Viet Nam News, Le Courier du Vietnam, and Vietnam Law & Legal Forum), along with five news support centres, a publishing house, two printing companies, the VNA representative office in the south, the VNA representative office in the central – Central Highlands region; and functional units to support the VNA General Director.
With representative offices in all 63 cities and provinces nationwide and 30 overseas bureaus across the five continents, the VNA has a strong contingent of reporters working across the country and in most of the key areas around the world. This is a unique advantage that no other press agency in Việt Nam has.
The launch of VietnamPlus online newspaper in 2008 and the official broadcast of Vietnam News Channel (Vnews) in 2010 were steps towards the aforementioned target, reflecting the vision of the Vietnam News Agency Board at that time. Later, to adapt to changes in information needs, in 2017, Vietnam News Agency established the Database-Documentation and Infographic Centre, which provides a wide range of materials systematically summarised from official sources regarding major current events at home and abroad on the portal vnanet.vn, and produces a number of TV shows. On September 15, 2015, VNA brought VNA's information and news to social networks, starting with promoting Vietnamese information, then developing in other languages such as English, French, Chinese and Spanish.
In the face of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, how has the Vietnam News Agency invested in developing multimedia information products?
In March 2012 I had a business trip to Japan. This trip left a strong impression on me about the quick adaptation of a news agency in the context of constantly developing digital media, in which I paid special attention to the information centre in the convergence model of Kyodo News. In my following business trips in many other countries, such as China, South Korea and Russia or when attending the annual conference of the Asia-Pacific News Agency (OANA), I witnessed the dramatic transformation of leading regional news agencies, such as Xinhua News Agency, Yonhap, and TASS. These companies are fast-paced with the advances of modern communication technology, they use robots as television programme instructors, apply artificial intelligence to produce sports news, develop cloud computing to transmit information directly. From such experience, we are more determined to speed up and concretise the steps to bring Vietnam News Agency to become the nation's primary multimedia agency.
Vietnam News Agency is well prepared to catch the trend of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and we have many products of this revolution. VietnamPlus Chatbot application is an example. Along with that, there are data journal products using Big Data and Voice to Text system. As for how much we invest in information products, it depends on each stage of the development of communication technology and the ever-changing needs of the audience.
With agility and focus on investment, up to now, Vietnam News Agency has had many newspapers and websites successfully applying modern technologies for the production of press products like VietnamPlus, Tin Tức newspaper, Thể thao Văn Hoá (Sport and Culture) newspaper and Vnews. We have mega stories, Rap News, live, podcasts, infographics, timelines, 360 photos, Audio. The creativity and investment in professionals, as well as technology, is well received and appreciated by readers.
In addition, in recent years, Vnews has created a breakthrough in the application of new technologies and techniques for production to ensure stable round the clock broadcasting. At the end of 2019, Vnews invested in a new modern newsroom system, deploying the 10Gb network infrastructure system. At the same time, it successfully built an information storage system and put into operation the MAM online TV operating system, which is a professional working support system that ensures transparent workflow, quick and accurate information.
What measures will VNA take to strengthen its strengths and its extremely important role?
The project 'Developing Vietnam News Agency into a major multimedia agency of the national media system' is a name that we have considered both on a legal and practical basis. In the era of digital media thriving under the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, along with the increasing and diverse requirements from the public, the Vietnam News Agency‘s development in the model of multimedia, on the basis of multi-platform to promote the strengths of various types of journalism is an inevitable trend.
Regarding solutions, I think every solution must ensure effective implementation of the following specific functions and tasks:
- VNA is the only Vietnamese news agency that provides information for the domestic and foreign press system.
- VNA is the only press agency to provide reference information on the situation in the country and the world, serving the leadership of the Party and the Government, research and policymaking agencies.
- The Vietnam News Agency is the only press agency tasked by the Secretariat to publish press publications in the languages of all ethnic minority groups in Vietnam.
- The Vietnam News Agency is the only press agency tasked with announcing the official opinion of the State on topical issues, adjusting information that is not in line with national interests when it is necessary to issue a statement to reject information that is intentionally misrepresented.
- VNA is the national key foreign information agency.
- VNA is the only press agency with a network of permanent correspondents spread across 63 provinces and cities and is also the press agency with the most resident agencies abroad (30).
- VNA manages the largest national image archive in Việt Nam.
To always perform well the above functions and tasks, the human factor is decisive. Therefore, the development of the Vietnam News Agency's human resources must ensure a sufficient quantity and attach importance to improving the quality through strengthening training and retraining so that the Vietnam News Agency journalists have enough political quality and modern journalism capacity. --VNS