This past April, Voice of America’s (VOA) own Khmer stringer, Narin Sun, was chosen from among 500 applicants to be a 2018 Kiplinger Fellow in Public Affairs Journalism. Sun’s success as a journalist with the Wall Street Journal, Phnom Penh Today, and Voice of America, among other publications, paved his path in becoming the first Cambodian national to have been a part of the fellowship.
“Sun’s work is unique, value-added journalism for the Cambodian audience and among the best stories and most ambitious efforts of enterprise reporting done by VOA Khmer during the past 13 years,” stated VOA Khmer Service Chief Chris Decherd, noting the well-deserved achievement.
During the week-long program, Sun participated in workshops on using social media in reporting; branding and audience engagement; smartphone videography; and media ethics. He was joined by 16 other fellows, twelve of whom are based in the United States and five from the UK, Nigeria, Nepal, and Germany.
“We are delighted to have such a good cross-section of experience, diversity and media platforms in this year’s class,” Kiplinger Director Kevin Z. Smith said. The goal of the program is to provide up-to-date knowledge about new tools in digital and social media and approaches to a quickly changing industry. Its inception in 1973 marked a tradition that has carried on each spring for the last 45 years and boasts educating a diverse array of nearly 1,000 journalists each year.
Sun’s acceptance into the prestigious program shines a positive light on Voice of America and its Khmer Service. Since joining VOA in January of 2017, Sun has had several of his stories featured on the main news website and broadcast within the VOA Khmer service, reporting some of VOA Khmer’s most ambitious stories about political tensions within Cambodia, land rights protests, and environmental concerns in the region. Most recently, he penned an article on Cambodian journalist Aun Pheap who fled to the U.S. to seek political asylum.
Following the fellowship, which he referred to as “a great program,” Sun returned to Phnom Penh to resume his work with VOA. His work and experience has set the bar for other Cambodian nationals to follow in his footsteps.