Thursday, 23:10 03-11-2022

External Journalism and the Challenges of the 4.0 Industrial Revolution

Journalism-Communication Thursday, 23:10 03-11-2022
Abstract: External journalism is being strongly influenced by the fourth technological revolution. A paradigm shift emerges in a manner that makes communicators change their awareness and ways of approaching the public with a new messages, new channels, and perception of a new generation of audience. These challenges require the system of external journalism to actively innovate, especially in the field of journalists’ training.



On December 13, 2016, the Prime Minister signed Decision No. 2434/QD- TTg, approving the planning of the external journalism system until 2020 with an orientation towards 2030. This decision affirms that external journalism is an integral component of external information. It is an integral part of the Party’s communication and ideological work, and a regular and long-term task of the whole political system. It directs that there should be a focus on continuing development of a specialized external journalism force as the core for the continuing development of the journalism system in general. External journalism needs to identify the most important external information, notably about neighboring countries, major countries, ASEAN countries, the United States, the European Union, Japan, and other countries in Latin America, as well as overseas Vietnamese, especially the young ones. External journalism should proactively disseminate domestic information and promptly collect external information to promote government policies on a range of issues including socio-economic development, culture, security and defense, protection of national interests, national and territorial sovereignty, as well as sovereignty over territorial waters and islands.(1)

Decision No. 2434/QD-TTg also clearly states that achievement of these goals necessitates effective investment in finance, personnel and facilities, especially the application of new communication technologies to develop external journalism.

1.   The impacts of the 4.0 industrial revolution on journalism and communication


As for the impacts of the fourth Industrial Revolution on journalism and communications, it is undeniable that the development of journalism and communication is greatly affected by technological changes. New technologies have appeared and transform journalism and communication, as well as the journalists who use them. Historically, the first industrial revolution introduced the printing press which eventually gave rise to the widespread circulation of printed newspapers, making a revolution in journalism. This first revolution lasted several centuries, and print media continued for many more centuries. The discovery of electromagnetic waves and the era of sound transmission through space also gave birth to a new type of journalism, namely radio. Over the past hundred years, traditional radio has become familiar to the public. In particular, the robust development of transmitting image signals through the air starting in the mid 20th century gave birth to the television. The early 21st century saw an evolution of this revolution in visual communication with the widespread use of satellite transmission. For more than a hundred years, television has dominated family life and created a routine for the public to receive visual information. Now, one more time, everything has changed, as mentioned by the author Professor Klaus Schwab in his book “The Fourth Industrial Revolution,” “In the fourth revolution, we will come to a combination of the real world, the virtual world, and the biological world. These new technologies will have a huge impact on every rule, every economy, every industry, and also challenge our notions of what is the real role of human beings.”(2)

This fourth industrial revolution has affected global connectivity and instantaneous interactions that have radically changed the way journalists and news agencies create and deliver information to the public. The birth and growth of social networks have facilitated the change in communication and influenced the impact of information on the public. It has changed not only communication channels, the way information is delivered to the public, but also the way the public perceives and processes information.

All of the aforementioned factors set new requirements for Vietnam’s external journalism and communication today. These are changes in the subjects of journalism  and communication vis-à-vis international relations. Global information requires State actors to change the way in which information was provided in the past.

The content of Vietnamese external journalism has been clearly defined, but it is necessary to have a suitable means of content creation. This is reflected in the creation of reporting and communication and in adopting emerging technologies as soon as they are available. In this regard reporters play an important role. Training is required to expeditiously access and create content that ensures both the Party and the State’s guidelines on foreign affairs are followed while also allowing for professional creativity.

2. Challenges in training human resources for external journalism and international communication in the context of the 4.0 industrial revolution

In the planning and development of the external journalism system, the Party and State have identified a number of key agencies. The national goal for external journalism is to be directed outward, internationally, increasingly globalized while still adhering to communication principles in the general communication cycle. However, the basic contents of the cycle elements have changed.(3)  This change-process is also partly attributed to the impact of the fourth technological revolution.

First, the change in communication  technology  creates  the  need  for the alteration in the workflow of external journalists and international communicators. Currently there is a need for a new generation of global journalists who possess comprehensive global knowledge, foreign language competency, and ability to use professional equipment. They also need to utilize direct communication channels and knowledge of public opinion to create appropriate communication content.

The demand of the external journalism personnel market with these specific requirements has created new challenges for the training of this team. In the short term, it is about innovation and fulfilling the requirements of ever- changing technology and engineering. More importantly, they have to adapt to ongoing changes in journalism and communication cycles with new multi- functional equipment.

The second change relates to the journalists’ perception. In the past, external journalists often provided one-way and sometimes dogmatic information. With the current and future changes, that mode of delivery is no longer appropriate and mindsets need to be changed to provide the public with more objective and comprehensive information. Today’s public has characteristics, which are different from those of previous generations. They choose what information they want to receive and have the right to change the method of receiving it anywhere, anytime. The modes of accessing information are also increasingly diverse. These changes require external journalism to adjust accordingly when identifying target audiences on a large global scope.

Third, there continues to be a change in the process of formulating content and messages and the ways such messages are created to be suitable for the public audience. In external journalistic works, the message and the nature of information that the subject wants to convey to the public are usually evident. The effectiveness of communication will be enhanced when presented with an attractive and creative presentation.

Fourth is the selection and change of communication channels. Thanks to the advent of the internet, the gap between Vietnam’s external information and the world has been bridged. The integration of new communication technology on social networks has greatly changed traditional communication. This mandates the training of a well-rounded generation of external journalists who do not separate traditional journalism but still need to grasp the qualities and professional skills of traditional journalism, e.g. print, radio, and television, and incorporate them into a new integrated skill set. In particular, future external and international journalists and communicators will need to grasp the multitude of new network communication technologies to work in a modern digital communication environment.


The 4.0 industrial revolution poses many challenges to journalism in general and external journalism in particular. Staying abreast of changes in time helps to make appropriate adjustments on the fly with innovation of global journalism. To do this well, it is necessary to change the perception of the impact of 4.0 industrial revolution on journalistic works, journalists’ working process, transmission channels, and the public audience. It is necessary to correctly identify the most significant impact to instigate change in the application of technology to external journalism activities, especially the training of the current contingent of external journalists./.

(1) Quyet-dinh-2434-QD-TTg-

Quy-hoach-he-thong-bao-chi-doi-ngoai-2020 -2030-334021.aspx

(2) Klaus Schwab: The Fourth Industrial Revolution ra-mat-cuon-sach-cach-mang-cong-nghiep-lan-thu-tu-cuoc-cach-mang-cua-su-hoi-tu- va- tiet-kiem-3915198.html

(3) Nguyen Ngoc Oanh - International Communication Trends - Major research project 2017, Academy of Journalism and Communication.

Source: Journal of Political Theory and Communication (English), Issue 6-2021

Nguyen Ngoc Oanh

Assoc. Prof. PhD, Academy of Journalism and Communication

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