My name is Nguyễn Đăng Đạo, one of the 2019 AYSJ finalists from Vietnam. In this article, I will share my journey with AYSJ and why you should apply for this programme.
- “Am I the right one for this?”
If you ever ask yourself this question as I did, remember that the finalists of the 2019 cohort are very diverse. We have first-year students, graduate students, and young professionals. We work and study in various fields, including politics, laws, language, journalism. Some of us have prior experience, for example, I worked for the Vietnamese national radio broadcaster and the Press Section of the European Union Delegation. But many started from zero and ended up creating extremely successful social projects. Therefore, as long as you are not a full-time professional journalist, do not miss the chance.
- “What I will learn during the programme?”
First, let’s talk about the concept of a social journalist. There are some academic definitions of the social journalist, yet, based on my experience at the program, it is a combination of “social” and “journalist”. As a journalist, you will have to create attractive media products to raise the awareness of your target audiences. The social component in this term refers to the use of social media channels and the social-oriented characteristics of your project. In general, as a social journalist in this contest, you will use social media (and mass media, if possible) to address pressing social challenges of your country or your community.
During the workshops, we had opportunities to learn and practice utilising social media to promote social-change projects. Our trainer, Horea, is a helpful and dedicated trainer. He spent hours discussing and consulting on ten projects even after we finished the workshops. If you know nothing about media planning and project design, don't worry, Horea will go through all the concepts from basic to advanced. At the end of the workshop, you will be equipped with sufficient skills and knowledge to run your post-program project.
- “What should I do after the program"
The answer is you have to run your own project. There are two most important factors, the target audience you choose and the effort you put into it. Our post-programme project, “Youth, Have Your Say” aimed to raise the awareness of Vietnamese youth about the new Law on Youth and facilitate the engagement of youth in the law-making process. We managed to launch a campaign on social media and organise an offline workshop at RMIT. It was a pity that AYSJ happened only a week before I went to Europe to study, so I did not have much time to invest in our post-program project back home.
All the lessons from AYSJ are still vivid in my mind and they are really helpful. After two years, I decided to establish a new project named STEAR - Student Think Tank for Europe-Asia Relations, in which we hope to strengthen the ties between two continents through a wide range of youth programs. It proves that AYSJ is just not a week-long workshop, but a long-lasting experience for youth who are keen to make their community a better place to live.
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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