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Thanh Nien

Editor-in-Chief: Nguyen Cong Khe
248 Cong Quynh St . , Distr. 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Tel: 84 8 8 394 046
Fax: 84 8 8 322 025

Thanh Nien is the tribune of Vietnam’s Youth Association

Publication permit No. 14/GP-BC, granted by Press Department, Vietnam Ministry of Culture and Information.

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US journalism professor lauds Thanh Nien English news online
Paul Adams, Professor emeritus of Mass Communication and Journalism at California State University, Fresno, the US
On the occasion of our second anniversary at Thanh Nien news online (July 15), we reproduce some comments made by a visiting US journalism professor on our website.

The impersonal nature of the Internet medium can make posting English news in Vietnam feel like a thankless job.

But the following letter from Paul Adams, professor emeritus of Mass Communication and Journalism at California State University, Fresno, makes doing our job these days a little easier. The following is what he had to say in an email.

To the editors and reporters of Thanh Nien online news site,

Well over a year ago, I found out that I would be coming to Vietnam to teach during the spring semester of 2006 with the Journalism faculty at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Hanoi. Part of my preparation was to find a good website, in English, so I could begin learning about Vietnam. I looked and looked and finally found Thanh Nien online news site. I made this my homepage for some time in the US, and came to know it pretty well.

I am very impressed with the Thanh Nien site. I am judging it based on my work as a teacher of journalism in the US for more than 20 years, as a former newspaper editor, and as a teacher of journalism and technology.

Paul Adams is professor emeritus of Mass Communication and Journalism at California State University, Fresno. Previously, he had taught at the University of Texas, Baylor University, Louisiana State, and the University of Portland. He received his PhD and Master’s Degree from the University of Texas.

At Fresno State, he was head of the Public Relations sequence and originator of the Desktop Publishing course. He taught other courses as well, including New Technology, Research Methods, History of Mass Media, and Media Issues. His textbook, Writing Right for Today’s Mass Media, is used in introductory writing classes at more than 20 US universities.

This spring he was a visiting professor at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities of National University in Hanoi, Vietnam. He taught New Information Technologies, Introduction to Public Relations, and Applied Media Research. His volunteer teaching in Vietnam was funded by Rotary International, a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace throughout the world.

First of all, the Thanh Nien online news site is good for NEWS. I found the editors there to be courageous. Many times I would read about something in Vietnam there first. These news reports might be critical of the officials, for example, and other sites would not carry such stories. The other day I read a commentary by the Editor-in-chief of the newspaper and I better understood the philosophy of Thanh Nien

I also liked the mix of stories on the website. There were all kinds. Some short, some long. Some serious, some not. There were always some “good reads,” such as the story about a mentally ill woman with nails. Only a few stories were like this, of course. Most of the site is serious journalism.

The organization of the site is also really functional. “Top Stories” is useful. I also like the home page with the news by section. I can simply link to the kind of stories I want.

The editing of the stories is first-rate. I don’t know how the stories are written before translation, but by the time they get online, they are excellent. The first paragraph, the lead, is well done and the organization is crisp and concise. I like the fact that the first paragraph is set in boldface type.

Contrary to stories in Vietnamese newspapers (as have been reported to me), stories on the Thanh Nien online news site carry really strong attribution. Every sentence is clearly tied to a source, either directly or by implication. This is fine journalism.

The headlines would be at home in any Western newspaper. I recall such phrases as “humble pie,” “digs deep,” “cliffhanger,” and “green lights.” The writer used “harp” in the headline about music. Very nice. The only thing I recall that I did not like is “eyes” as a verb in a headline. I saw this twice in the same section one day. 

Along with the good headlines is good grammar. This is as good as in any Western newspaper, perhaps better. Some stories were perfect – and this comment comes from someone who has taught editing for many years.

Overall, I must say I am very impressed with Thanh Nien, so impressed that when I visited Ho Chi Minh City, I asked to meet with the editor, Thuc Minh. I just wanted to tell her what I thought. She is a motivated journalist with superior knowledge of what today’s online readers want, and need. Congratulations, Thuc Minh, and everyone. Sincerely,

Paul Adams

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