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Castengera trains Vietnamese journalists
A telecommunications faculty member at Grady College says he feels like a celebrity after a series of trips to Vietnam.
Michael Castengera is working on several projects to improve the rapidly advancing broadcast media industry in Vietnam. On his last visit, he was introduced at a Hollywood-style party as one of the special guests, along with a film-maker and professor from the University of Southern California, leading businessmen and regional and federal officials.
"Vietnam is just now getting into the real heavy-duty media," Castengera said. "It's grown fast with such a young and growing population.
The population of Vietnam is around 88 million people, and 60 percent of the population is under the age of 35.
Castengera first became involved in these projects when Vietnam Television (VTV), the national television broadcaster, contacted Bob Furnad, former president of CNN and retired Grady professor, to work with them on a training program for their journalists. Furnad recommended Castengera, who flew out to Vietnam in December. He spent three days in Ho Chi Minh putting on workshops for television offices and then flew to Hanoi for more workshops that focused on marketing strategies and other news considerations.
It was during this trip that Castengera met Buu Dien, president of Dien Quan (DQ) Media, which produces several shows in Vietnam. Dien asked Castengera for his recommendations on the best methods to start up his newest project, the Saigon International Film School (SIFS).
Castengera returned to Vietnam for a week in January to help develop SIFS's broadcast and digital media studies program.
"With the media becoming more and more sophisticated, they're very gung-ho about getting people trained, and getting people trained properly."
Castengera's work has him training both the current journalists at VTV and young professionals who are looking to learn about the field of broadcasting at SIFS.
VTV is also looking to form partnerships with schools in the United States, Britain, France, Germany and South Korea to develop exchange programs for Vietnamese professionals to learn the Western ways of media. The Grady College is the front-runner to be the American school partnered with VTV because of its hands-on approach to teaching the skills of broadcasting.
"It's quite a compliment to Grady," Castengera said. "They could have done any school in the U.S., but the person arranging it said they'd get a better experience here."
Castengera's work with SIFS - and his love for Vietnamese cuisine - will send him back to Vietnam for a week in March. While there, he will train the new teachers at the school on how to teach and engage their students in the field of broadcasting.
"The students are mostly young professionals," Castengera said. "They want to learn, but they appreciate the American way of doing it because there's more engagement in the process."
Date: February 25, 2013
Author: Whitney Jinks, Yarbrough-Grady intern
Contact: Michael Castengera, firstname.lastname@example.org
Grady faculty member Michael Castengera, far right, poses with several journalists from Vietnam.