IN the past, people would get their news through so-called “traditional media” sources such as newspapers, magazines and radio stations, but the emerging digital medium of online news is beginning to compete with those sources.
In the past few years, the number of people using the internet has increased, spurring the creation of many online news websites. Reading the news online is conven-ient and more timely, as it is constantly updated.
“I read online news every day at work because I don’t want to buy a newspaper,” Van Bun Ang, 24, a deputy translation trainer at International Co-operation Cambodia, says. “Reading news online is fast and convenient, and I can get updated information.”
Ly Rath, a 23-year-old Master’s candidate at the Royal University of Law and Economics, says her father always buys the newspaper to read at home, but she rarely reads it, preferring to get her news online.
Ly Rath believes people like her father enjoy reading physical newspapers because it’s easier on their eyes: “Older people prefer reading newspapers because the type in a newspaper is bigger than the type on a website.”
Because of the march of technology, more and more people are using the internet for communicating, networking and searching for information. It’s even a source of entertainment for some of us.
News websites are a tool for spreading information and a way for emerging media companies to compete with tradit-ional media sources. There are many news websites that focus on Cambodia, such as The Phnom Penh Post, Cambodia Express News (CEN), Koh Santepheap, Radio Free Asia, DAP News and many others.
CEN website founder Pen Samitthy says he created his website because he wanted “to serve people who like reading news online, as most people who have access to the internet prefer getting their news this way”. He says his website has, on average, about 1,900 visitors each day.
The DAP news site is also popular in Cambodia. Soy Soph-eap, its director-general, told LIFT: “I worked at a newspaper in Kyoto, Japan, where I learned to disseminate news quickly to the public.
“Cambodia is enjoying a huge increase in internet capacity, which is why I decided to create the DAP website.”
Koh Santepheap editor-in-chief Yin Piseth has similar thoughts. He says the Koh Santepheap website “is for people who like reading news online”, adding that most of his website regulars are young or middle-aged people who are educated and have access to the internet.
Yin Piseth also says news agencies must continually innovate by harnessing technology. “We cannot neglect technology and keep doing things the old way. We have to keep our news agency fresh by putting news online,” he says.
One obstacle online news agencies face is the fact that internet use in Cambodia is not widespread. But Sor Kunthea, a 22-year-old student at the Royal University of Law and Economics, says that even though she doesn’t have internet access at home, she still enjoys reading news online when she can, because it’s cheaper than buying a newspaper.
“If I read news online, I spend only 1,500 riels and I can read a variety of articles on different websites, but if I buy a news-paper, I can only read that one newspaper,” she says.
According to the 2010 Cambodia Communication Review, there were 113,380 internet users in Cambodia as of June last year. Although this number is small, it is widely assumed that it is increasing rapidly.
“In the future, the number of people getting their news online will increase, becase online news is invading newspapers, radio stations and magazines around the world. People can get up-to-the-minute news by accessing the internet through their phone or computer, so it’s a very convenient method,” Pen Samitthy says.
According to a report by the Pew Research
Centre, Americans are more likely to get their news online than from a newspaper.