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At the start of September 2018, journalists from the news pure player Thmey Thmey were taught how to report on topics specifically relating to rural communities.
This summer, Thmey Thmey launched its new smartphone app '25 Provinces',which aims to promote local news concerning Cambodia's agricultural sector. New regional reporters have been recruited, and they recently all came together in Phnom Penh for a week-long training course led by the French freelance journalist and media consultant François Gerles.
With most of these reporters having little in the way of experience, this session gave them the opportunity to gain a better understanding on how to report on rural topics, as well as teaching them a variety of new journalism techniques:
"I learnt a great deal: writing, filming, choosing an angle… Before, I’d never really thought about what constituted news, and how to give it shape. I was unaware of the need to attract the reader’s attention. When I return to Battambang, I plan to write about the fall in prices of agricultural products, which is having a major impact on rural communities." Heng Chantrea (Thmey Thmey reporter in Battambang)
"The list of topics taught was very extensive. The week was further enrichened by the exchanges I had with my fellow students. I want to help the most disadvantaged families who don’t have access to education, by giving them a better understanding of pesticides, for example, or making it easier for them to sell their products at markets." Mlle Tong Srey Leak (Thmey Thmey reporter in Kompong Cham)
"The ‘25 Provinces’ initiative is now starting to bear fruit. I wrote a report about the market gardeners who sell their organic vegetables at a market in Siem Reap – since it was published in Thmey Thmey, customers have flocked to their stalls." Isa Rohany (Thmey Thmey reporter in Siem Reap)
The Rural Networks project will continue to be rolled out in the coming weeks, with a forum on the media coverage of rural affairs scheduled for 25 October 2018, followed by two training courses at Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, during the agricultural fairs held in both cities.