Providing knowledge to improve the presentation of news events – making news releases more interesting, dynamic, and trustworthy, while promoting the appropriate ‘image’ of the Parliament – was the focus of a training course on News Writing. This took place over five days during the period from 4 October to 17 October 2022.
Participants were staff from the Information Departments of the Senate and the National Assembly of Cambodia, who play central roles in managing news releases covering parliamentary activities and work.
The 12 trainees (two females and 10 males) – comprising six staff from the Senate and six from the National Assembly – learned about a wide range of subjects including the components constituting ‘news’, the importance and composition of the lead paragraph, news structure, news angles, the importance of quotes and pictures, and the difference between journalists and PR professionals. Techniques for liaising with the media, reasons why news releases can fail, the importance of messaging – and how to do it – were also included, along with internet searching, and understanding objectivity, ethics and the importance of sources in news reporting.
Throughout the training, the participants were given the chance to practise their skills – through the learning-by-doing approach which covered each topic.
The course trainers were Dr Jan Taylor, a communications specialist, and Mr Samoeun Sothyro, a communications practitioner, who ensured that both English and Khmer were used throughout.