Facing social media onslaught, Vietnamese press must go digital

The Science and Technology Department of HCMC yesterday held the conference ‘Seeking Solutions for Digital Transformation in the Press’ to boost the implementation of IT in work procedures.

The conference

After planning the press, HCMC now accommodates 19 press agencies with more than 2,500 journalists granted cards and over 160 representative offices of other central and local press agencies operating in the area.

As press agencies are facing fierce competitions from social networks with their advantages of easy access, easy sharing, fast and diverse information, the Vietnamese press needs to quickly catch up with the digital transformation process. However, this process as well as multi-platform content production of press agencies in Vietnam are encountering various challenges.

Some press agencies have implemented digital transformation in such stages as producing content, shifting focus to create content that is suitable for different reader segments; and diversifying content creation forms. Multi-platform content distribution is chosen to approach users regardless of their locations. Press links are formed with social networks and popular digital platforms.

Head of the Press-Publishing Office (Propaganda and Education Board) Nguyen Minh Hai is delivering his speech

Head of the Press-Publishing Office under the Propaganda and Education Board of the HCMC Party Committee Nguyen Minh Hai emphasized that digital transformation in the press is inevitable now. Despite many efforts, the city's press agencies still face many difficulties in this critical process such as technical infrastructure, capital, human resources, data exploitation and analysis.

In recent years, the Vietnamese press, particularly the one in HCMC, has been gradually carrying on digital transformation to adapt to the new context. Some press agencies have taken the initiative to build a multi-media converged newsroom and to offer an increasingly modern working environment, leading to promising preliminary results.

“SGGP Newspaper, for instance, has deployed the sending and editing of articles via its CMS system instead of via emails as before, significantly contributing to shortening the article processing process (data entry, article editing, and file output). This means acceleration in the publication progress on its electronic versions. Reporters have gradually approached, become familiar with and proficiently used various modern equipment items for multi-genre journalism, especially video clips and longform. The newspaper regularly uses online meeting services to organize meetings and professional activities with reporters, collaborators or to assign urgent work”, said Mr. Hai.

Deputy Director Nguyen Van Khanh of the HCMC Press Center is giving his presentation

Deputy Director Nguyen Van Khanh of the HCMC Press Center admitted that the digital transformation and multi-platform content production of press agencies in Vietnam are currently facing many obstacles, including the lack of technological independence, the inability to be self-sufficient in servers, problems with CMS, security, Cloud services.

Another challenge comes from unwanted influences by information on social networks, the risk of being led by fake or unverified news. In addition, the content copyrights of press agencies are frequently violated, yet so far there have been no feasible solutions to prevent it.

Besides, many websites to compile news or Facebook groups, YouTubers plagiarize and distort news pieces posted by formal press agencies to serve their own purposes, resulting in severe effects on the community.

Deputy Director Khanh proposed that press agencies need to coordinate with the national press digital transformation roadmap, quickly concretize corresponding policies and financial support; promote and control the digital transformation process in accordance with both the roadmap of the Central unit and specific characteristics of the city's press.

Finally, press agencies need to build a shared database, while their data are placed on the city's server system to enhance security. The tasks of training or retraining necessary skills for reporters and journalists in the process of journalism and press digital transformation must be a top-priority.

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