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Journalists, Tech-Savvy Students Train in Social Media

Cambodia accounts for more than 200,000 Facebook users, mostly to connect with friends and professional networking.

Journalists, would-be reporters and other students were taught to better use social media last week, as an increasing number of Cambodians become tech savvy.

“Social media such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have the potential to gather people to voice their opinions in a more effective manner, and we want to encourage journalists to use the Web 2.0 tools not only for their work but also for their personal use to make it more mainstream in Cambodia,” said Jamie Hyo-Jin Lee, a communications officer at Unesco in Cambodia.

Lee spoke at a 5-day training last week that was funded by Unesco. More than 20 journalists and students with technical know-how learned how to make better use of social media and other Web tools.

“Now people only need cellphones that can shoot video, and they can upload that onto their Facebook page or YouTube,” said Tieng Sopheak Vichea, director of the Cambodian Communication Institute, which hosted the training. “Then people around the world can see it.”

However, a culture of widespread citizen journalism has not yet spread in Cambodia, where a minority, growing though it may be, has access to new media tools. Those who do use social media applications still mostly use them for fun and friendly networking.