Net Neurn, a woman citizen journalist in Kratie: “It is hard, but I am happy”

 

Her first job as a citizen journalist (CJ)

Ms. Neurn started her job as a CJ with VOD on 6 January 2015. It was her first ever job.

At first, she faced many difficulties in understanding the job and carrying out her work.

“I found it so hard at first to ask questions, write and report. I knew nothing about citizen journalism, and didn’t know how to use a smartphone and social media like Facebook.”

However, Ms. Neurn said there were some commitments and reasons that motivated her to take on this work as CJ.

“I want to improve my skills, to help my people to be actively engaged in providing or receiving information and community development activities, and to raise the issues and concerns of my people so they are broadcast or published.”

With this commitment in her heart, Ms. Neun continues her work as a CJ despite the many difficulties she faces.

Other work

Besides being a CJ, Ms. Neurn, much like other women in her rural community, is an active housewife who has daily responsibilities of farming and housework, including cooking, washing clothes and taking care of her five children.

Moreover, she also works as a women’s group leader in her community, focusing on health and sanitation with Oxfam.

Challenges

 
 

Ms. Net Neurn and other Kratie CJs during
a reflection meeting EU representative

Shyness is one of the key challenges for Ms. Neurn, besides the difficulties in asking questions, interviewing and writing news article.

“As a woman CJ, I have faced more difficulties than men CJs in my province, especially in regards to travelling to places far away and reporting stories.”

She adds that gender discrimination is another challenge for her in engaging with authorities and government officials. Most of the time she is not invited to join in commune meetings and events because she is considered to be a simple woman villager.

How CJ work makes Ms. Neurn happy

With her job as a CJ, Ms. Neurn has more opportunities to meet with people in her community and encourages them, especially women, to participate more actively in community development activities and demanding information from local authorities.

“What makes me happy the most with my job as a CJ is that I can help to give a voice to the voiceless, especially indigenous people and the women’s group who have all had their issues heard by the commune leaders and stakeholders through the news reports and articles I wrote and published.”

Ms. Neurn explains by sharing two real news stories she has reported that helped her community people. Those stories included:
1. Story on villagers of Khbos village facing a water shortage during a recent severe drought; and
2. Story on people in Khnarch village who cannot access education due to no school building available.

Moreover, Ms. Neurn worked to encourage the youth and students to participate in social activities and commune council meetings to ensure their access to information and involvement in seeking solutions for community issues involving the environment, drugs, water and education.

 
To view the pdf version, click the image above.  

Self development

Ms. Neurn is a CJ who is supported by the European Union in partnership with DCA.  Ms. Neurn says her personality and skills have developed significantly during her time as a CJ.

Before:
* Didn’t know about news
* Could not write
* Never used smartphone or Facebook
* Didn’t understand the meaning of “newsworthy”
* Was very shy
* Lacked confidence
* Had poor communication with people and local authorities
* People didn’t know her
* The problems and issues in her community were not being told

Now:
* Has a better understanding of news
* Can write better and even faster
* Can use smartphone and Facebook well
* Is brave and confident
* Has more opportunities to participate in meetings and get information from authorities
* Improved self-confidence to participate in meetings and public events, and in interviewing or asking questions
* Has better relations and communications with people and authorities
* People value her work as a CJ
* Is respected by community members and local authorities

Future Plans

Even though she still faces some challenges and difficulties in writing and reporting news, Ms. Neurn is committed to continuing her job as a CJ well into the future, even after the project phases out.

“I will never give up my job as a CJ. One of my dreams of being a CJ is to see more issues of my community people being heard and solved through my news articles and reports.”

“I wish one day, I could see all my community people play more active roles in engaging in the development work and access to information from the commune council and stakeholders, and the NGOs and government pay more attention and take all their concerns and issues into consideration when finding solutions”.

She added, “I wish also to see more CJs available in my community, especially the young women CJs”.