Editor’s note: Stivi Cooke, an Australian living in the central city of Hoi An, points out things he dislikes about Tuoi Tre News and the type of content it must focus on developing in this piece sent in congratulations on the website's fifth birthday (June 18).
It is surprising when I think about it, that I cannot remember when I started writing for Tuoi Tre News.
I am sure it was in 2011. I had become somewhat frustrated about education in Vietnam and wanted to write about that and so I began my long association with the newspaper.
So this article is quite biased in Tuoi Tre News' favor!
Over the last seven years I have scanned the Vietnamese news daily to get a sense of the culture, customs and issues. Research is part of my tactics for understanding people and cultures. I had started out with the more conservative news sites yet needed to know more – something outside the usual reports of progress, economic statistics and grand announcements.
Other news outlets tended to lean towards excessive scandal reporting and quaint descriptions of tourist attractions, but I liked Tuoi Tre News’ more interesting trend towards following issues over time such as land disputes, poverty issues and life in the countryside.
It seems strange to me that some media outlets focus so much on Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City while the majority of the population lives in rural under-development.
I particularly like Tuoi Tre News’ efforts to promote the English language with the Audio section and transcripts. Hiring a native speaker as a sub-editor, American Michael Tatarski, was a great innovation too. Tuoi Tre News’ affiliation with education and E-Learning sites shows another effort to encourage the language as well.
The City Diary section, to which I contribute, is an interesting channel of feedback from foreigners – some good, some bad – but a worthy opportunity for expats, tourists and Vietnamese to contribute to the national dialogue on tourism, what it is like to live here and the funny side of Vietnam’s culture.
What do I hate? I can get frustrated at times when Tuoi Tre News runs the ‘slow news day’ stories or reports a story inaccurately, but this is true of media in the West too. In some ways, Western media can be much more irrelevant and lazier than Vietnam by ‘re-hashing’ old stories.
In the future, I’d like to see more organization and promotion of video content along the lines of the BBC or ABC News Australia.
Also I’d want to see more graphic content explaining concepts, how things work or time-lining events.
Personally, as an educator, I’d also like to see more embedded PowerPoint graphics to show the finer points of language.
Still, all in all, over the last five years Tuoi Tre News has done a great job in a difficult media market with so many news outlets – congratulations and cheers for the next fifty years of Tuoi Tre News!