12 February, 2021 10:07 AM

Gaining a Deeper Understanding of ASEAN through Social Journalism

Through the ASEAN Youth Social Journalism Contest, Panalath Lathouly from Lao PDR gained a deeper understanding of what it means to be ASEAN.  

“I like the moment when we get to share our similarities as well as our differences, and because of them, I have a better understanding of ASEAN.”

Panalath is also grateful for the unique opportunity to learn and exchange ideas with her co-finalists. Moreover, she highlighted the feeling of excitement she gets when discussing with her fellow ASEAN youths their project plans and their hope on making a positive impact to their community.

Like Panalath, are you also passionate about serving your community through social journalism? Read more about her story below.

The ASEAN Youth Socal Journalism (AYSJ) Contest is an eye-opening programme for ASEAN youth to perceive the importance and roles of journalists. In this programme, we got to explore the career of a journalist in Brunei Darussalam, a beautiful and peaceful country.  

The organizers of AYSJ were all friendly and supportive. Overall, the programme was well-facilitated and well-prepared, which allowed us to enjoy our stay and the activities. During this programme, I have gained a lot of great experiences from the coach, staff, and friends. One of them is the training by our coach Mr. Horea, who is the lead person in teaching us to see things from a journalist’s perspective. For example, we learned how to attract more people to read/watch our content, the do’s and don’ts of a good journalist, and how to identify fake news. This programme was also a great opportunity to learn and exchange from one another. It was exciting to discuss with other ASEAN fellows about our project plans and how we hope to impact our communities.   

In order to get everyone prepared for the competition of AYSJ, we had to work with our partner from the same country most of the time. Even after the workshop, we still have Mr. Horea to be our coach. He is dedicated to coaching each of our groups. Getting feedback from him helped our team get the clarity and creativity we need for our project. Although we have not won the prize from the competition, the skills and knowledge that we have obtained were worth it for our life skills.  

Friendship among AYSJ is another valuable benefit of joining the programme. I have always enjoyed connecting with new friends from different countries, especially from ASEAN countries. I like the moment when we get to share our similarities as well as our differences, and because of them, I have a better understanding of ASEAN. 

Finally, I would like to thank the sponsors of AYSJ including USAID, US Embassy, ASEAN secretary, and the ASEAN Foundation for making this great programme happen. I believe that journalists play a crucial role in developing our countries because they help spread the news and raise awareness to our citizens. Hence, I would like to see more youth, especially ASEAN youth with creative ideas who are interested to become a journalist, to take this opportunity in applying for AYSJ programme in order to take the challenge to get out of the comfort zone and receive the priceless experiences as I did. 

Got an idea that can help the community? Join ASEAN Youth Social Journalism Contest 2021 and share us your essay and campaign idea! 

This contest is open to ASEAN youths. Make a team of 2 and submit your idea before 14 February 2021 at this link.

Top 20 selected teams will participate in a virtual social journalism workshop to finetune their strategy plan, and receive a USD 200 stipend to support the implementation of their campaign. The best performers will be awarded USD 1,000 for the first winner, USD 750 for the second winner and USD 500 for the third winner to maximise the reach of their campaign! 

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