On the eve of the 30th anniversary of Việt Nam News, the editor-in-chief of the newspaper Trịnh Thanh Thủy and reporter Kiều Trinh spoke with Mr. Nguyễn Đức Lợi, member of the 12th Party Central Committee, General Director of the Vietnam News Agency.
Nguyễn Đức Lợi, member of the 12th Party Central Committee, General Director of the Vietnam News Agency. — VNA/VNS Photo
The establishment of Việt Nam News (VNS) more than 30 years ago is recognised as a turning point in the history of Vietnamese journalism. What could you say about this historic decision of the Vietnam News Agency (VNA)?
The first edition of VNS was released in the context of Việt Nam starting the Đổi Mới process and opening up the country. It can be said that at that time, the birth of a national English-language daily newspaper of the VNA was a breakthrough and brought many meanings. As Việt Nam strengthens international exchanges, the need of foreigners to learn about Việt Nam as well as the need to bring Việt Nam's information to international readers is increasing, VNS is recognised as Việt Nam's official voice in global press.
The establishment of VNS can also be considered a brave decision of the VNA, because there was no precedent in publishing an English language daily at that time in Việt Nam. However, with the mission of being a national information provider, VNA's leadership wisely and timely established VNS as an official information channel of Việt Nam in English.
With close association with the VNA, the newspaper has taken advantage of resources from the national news agency, with an abundant source of official domestic and foreign information and a large force of reporters and contributors. With the support of the VNA, the newspaper continuously improves its quality and the efficiency of its work. VNS has covered many major events of the world and of the nation, and has been appreciated by domestic and international readers as a reputable and reliable source of information.
As one of 11 units and publications for foreign service of the VNA, in the past three decades, VNS has grown tremendously. How do you evaluate the development of the newspaper?
Under the direction of the Board of Directors of the VNA, VNS plays an important role in the field of English-language media, providing official information through its print, electronic and multimedia products. In its 30 years of development, the leading daily English-language newspaper of Việt Nam has gradually become a prestigious publication in the region. Together with other units in the VNA, VNS contributes to form a large and effective external information front of the VNA.
From the very beginning, with only four modest black and white pages, VNS has constantly developed, increasing to eight pages and then 28 pages, and printed in colour. In 1998, VNS was one of the first newspapers in Việt Nam to go online, marking a new stage of development of the newspaper in the digital age. Over the past decade, multimedia products of VNS appear more and more online and are enthusiastically received by viewers. Up to now, its multimedia channels such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. have become popular with millions of views and interactions weekly.
Now, Việt Nam News is not just the name of the printed newspaper. It is associated with a system of popular, quality, timely and accurate communication channels, widely trusted and loved by domestic and international readers.
VNS has made its mark in the field of international cooperation. In 1998, VNS became one of the five founding members of the Asia News Network (ANN), with the aim of creating an information exchange network; strengthening press cooperation; organising and sponsoring international events; and cooperating in journalism training among leading newspapers in the region. This event has enhanced the position of the VNA and VNS in the domestic and international press environment.
In your opinion, what is now the most important things for VNS in development? What message do you want to share with the team for the future?
In order to have a strong development over the past 30 years, it is impossible not to mention the first people who laid the foundation for the newspaper. These are also the senior journalists of the VNA, such as the late journalist Đỗ Phượng, former General Director of the VNA, the first Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper; journalist Nguyễn Công Khuyến, Editor-in-Chief, who shouldered the main responsibility during the difficult first decade of the newspaper; the first deputy editors-in-chief such as journalists Nguyễn Quốc Trung, Hà Tuân, etc. Editor-in-Chief Trần Mai Hưởng, who is also former General Director of VNA, and the current Editorial Board who have continued to lead VNS.
Starting with just a few staff when it was first established, the VNS has now grown strong with hundreds of reporters, editors and employees in the North, Centre and South. The team also include enthusiastic international copy-editors, who have always stood by their Vietnamese colleagues throughout the development process.
VNS has played an important role in disseminating the Government's guidelines, policies and laws; timely and comprehensively reporting on all aspects of the country, as well as major international and regional issues. With these achievements, the newspaper has been several times honoured by the State with noble orders.
In the future, VNS needs to further develop a team of talented and dedicated journalists; modernise it’s technical facilities; strengthen the development of new media to better perform assigned tasks and serve the country. The newspaper must become a weighty voice, contributing to preserving peace, stability and development in the region and in the world. — VNS