UQ journalism students report from Vietnam this week

23 Mar 2016
School of Communication and Arts students in Vietnam.

by Bruce Woolley

Ten student reporters from the School of Communication and Arts are in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from 17 to 27 February to explore contemporary issues of importance to the people of Vietnam and learn the range of skills required to be effective foreign correspondents.

Their stories, for television, radio, print and online, can be viewed at a dedicated website: vietnamtoday.com.au, where they will be uploaded daily. All stories will also be made available free-of-charge under Creative Commons licence to media outlets around the world.

“I chose to apply for the Vietnam trip because I wanted to operate as a journalist in a foreign country,” said Zinzan Clements. 

“I think many journalism students one day dream of travelling the world and working as journo; here is my chance to experience it while still studying. 

“So far it has been a challenge making contacts from Australia, but I look forward to getting there and nailing my first story”.

The students are participating in a 10-day full-credit course, JOUR3401, and funding for their trip has come from the federal government’s now-defunct Short Term Mobility Program.

It covers the cost of all student airfares and accommodation, while the students themselves pay for any other personal expenses. The School of Communication and Arts covers the cost of sending two academic staff as well.

This is the third course of its kind conducted in Vietnam. In 2012, students visited Hanoi, Halong Bay and Ninh Binh, while in April 2014, another group toured Ho Chi Minh City, Danang, Hoi Anh and Hue.

Lecturer in journalism Bruce Woolley is also the project manager for the courses. He was a former foreign correspondent and senior producer for the ABC and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

“All these courses in Vietnam are innovative Work Integrated Learning projects designed to replicate real life as a foreign correspondent.

“That means students are involved in intensive, immersive experiences; all the while being supported and coached by industry trained professionals. 

“I’m very pleased to have Liss Fenwick taking part as a tutor on this trip, given her track record as an award-winning photo-journalist for organisations such as National Geographic”.

Grace Wilson is a student in her final year of a dual journalism/communication degree.

“This trip has presented me with an exciting opportunity to combine study with travel in a way that is going to push me outside of my comfort zone and better equip me to face the challenges of the workforce,” she said.

“My time spent in Vietnam will undoubtedly hone my practical skills and dramatically inform my view about what it actually means to be a journalist."

Hannah Twiggs described her ambitions, “My dream is to be able to broadcast and write and produce my own news stories; this trip allows me to explore all fields of journalism and create pieces completely out of my country and comfort zone.

“I can't wait to get stuck in and begin what could be my future in the reporting world."

 An article detailing the importance of these courses has been recently published in the Asia Pacific Media Educator journal (Woolley, B., 2014, WIL-power: developing journalism students intercultural communications and international reporting skills on field trips to Vietnam, Asia Pacific Media Educator 24(2) Pp: 157–173).

 Contact: Mr Bruce Woolley, email: b.woolley@uq.edu.au