|Creative minds: Student Nguyen Thi Hoa (left) from Ha Noi National University's Foreign Language University watches as her classmate directs a programme to be aired on student channel UlisTV.
by Loc Giang - Ha Nguyen
Nguyen Thanh, a student at Ha Noi University, finds it difficult to express his emotions to his girlfriend. So he was grateful when he discovered student-run Tito Radio.
"Tito Radio helps me show her that I love her," he said.
The radio station was set up by Vu Trung Ninh, a first-year student at Thang Long University.
Instead of discussing problems in society, Tito Radio offers a channel for young people to express their emotions.
People have to live very fast to match the country's fast development, Ninh said, but the programme "helps them live slowly and love more."
It takes Ninh six to seven hours to make each programme. He originally broadcast them via Facebook, but now listeners can tune into http://titoradio.net to hear shows like Than tuong cua toi (My idol), Bai hat yeu thich (Favourite songs), La thu cua toi (My letter) and Tro chuyen cung Tito (Let's talk with Tito).
Student-run media outlets like Tito Radio are enjoying growing popularity. Nguyen Thi Hoa and her friends at Ha Noi Foreign Language University enjoy watching UlisTV, a new TV channel for young people.
"UlisTV provides us interesting information about the activities of students as well as entertainment clips and news stories. We all like it," Hoa said.
Hoa's friend Luong Hai Duong most enjoys the programmes about poor students who overcome difficulties to succeed.
"I'm a poor student from the north-western province of Yen Bai. Theirs are very good lessons for me to follow," Duong said.
UlisTV was set up this summer by student Vu Thi Quynh, who came up with the idea when she studied the German language in Germany and started watching StTV, the TV channel produced by the country's Viet Nam Student Association.
"I decided that I would start a TV channel for students at our university in Ha Noi," Quynh said.
When she returned early this year, she proposed her idea to University Youth Union Secretary Vu Van Hai and received his strong support.
"Despite running short of money, equipment and experience, we have a team of 16 members and plenty of enthusiasm," said Quynh.
Group members make the programmes with their own money and their own cameras. However, for them, low budget doesn't mean low quality.
"We try to make our programmes as good as possible," said group head Nguyen Bich Phuong, "For example, a love scene: because of envy, a girl slapped her boyfriend's face. It was so difficult that our characters acted it again and again. When they finished, the male actor's face was red with the actress's fingerprints."
The first programme - a mix of news, events, outstanding student faces and entertainment - was broadcast in early September.
Teacher Bui Huu Phuc said the channel's programmes were "very useful".
After their initial success, the group received funds from the university youth organisation to train with professional TV experts.
In addition to student life, UlisTV plans to focus on current issues such as traffic safety and environmental protection.
Quynh said UlisTV will also broadcast a radio programme, "Gradient Emotion", on YouTube and the university website (www.ulis.vnu.edu.vn).
"UlisTV is a great example of student work. It's a good way for students to help each other promote their study," said Hai, secretary of the youth organisation.
Similarly, students at HCM City's National University's Press Department created Viet Voice last year, in which they interview people on streets.
"We realised we were all very interested in doing interviews, so we agreed to build a programme," said Vu Truong Chinh, a founder of the eight-person group, which has focused on many topics, such as medical ethics and gay marriage.
These have received significant acclaim from students and local people, said Nguyen Lam Kieu, a city resident.
Viet Voice has two channels: V7 specialises in interviewing people about hot news of the week; and V24 broadcasts follow-up interviews with locals.
"We've met many difficulties, such as people refusing to be interviewed. But interviewing is our work so we all try our best," said Chinh.
His friend Hoang Hai Yen said that since joining Viet Voice, she had gained valuable experience that would help her become a TV journalist.
"I know how to analyse a topic, compromise and respect people's ideas. But the most important thing is that I feel confident interviewing people," Yen said. — VNS