When we think of “journalists,” people will recognize them as the people who work in the news industry gathering and putting news together in a way that the public will be able to understand. Even though there is no exact requirement to become a journalist — one can be a journalist without a BA in journalism or communications, for example — a journalist needs to have access to a wide range of knowledge and information.
With the rise of social media, however, we often see misconceptions from Cambodian people that anyone who has a page on Facebook, anyone who is able to write something and post it to Facebook with pictures and a caption or even live videos, can be called a journalist. But that is absolutely wrong.
I used to think that being a journalist was not very difficult; you just needed to have the skills required. Now, I realize that in order to be a good journalist you need to follow the principles and ethics of journalism, and gain the trust of the people.
The role of a journalist is to seek the truth, to inform and educate or entertain people, as well as to protect their interests. A good journalist who has people’s trust always needs to stick to the truth and make sure their information is very accurate. A good journalist always needs to be independent and fair when reporting or writing news. A good journalist must make sure that all the voices from different sides of the story are being heard. A good journalist needs to stick to humanity and be accountable.
With all these principles in mind, anyone who wants to become a journalist also needs to have the skills to be one. A journalist needs to be very courageous and curious. They must always ask questions and want to dig deeper. The person also needs to have very strong communication skills as well as the ability to think critically.
As a kid, I used to be very shy, very afraid to ask questions and talk to people. But by the time I entered university, I had learned to master those skills and get to know people. I never expected that I would be working in the field of journalism, but as I got exposed to it during class, as well as the training at Newsroom in CCIM, my passion for it began to develop. In the future, I hope that Cambodia will have many journalists who follow the principles, protect the interests of the people, give voice to the voiceless, and gain a better image from the public.