Phnom Penh Internship – food poisoning and acid attacks

Zela Chin, a Master of Journalism student, has just completed her winter internship at the Phnom Penh Post in Cambodia. The Post is Cambodia’s oldest English language newspaper, providing news and analysis of current issues.

Zela kept a diary of her time there for the JMSC. Here is her last instalment:

‘My last week at the Post was short and sweet.

The week was short because I had food poisoning – unexpectedly, from a five-star hotel!  I had worried about getting ill from the restaurants on the streets because refrigeration is a luxury and the chances are that not many restaurants have refrigerators.  But I am learning not to make preconceived assumptions like that!

I finished up my internship by writing a feature article on acid attacks. http://www.phnompenhpost.com/index.php/2009123030523/National-news/acid-attacks-rooted-in-deep-social-and-personal-anguish.html

It was a culmination of weeks of reporting on attacks that left victims with life long scars, disfigurement, and occasionally, blindness.  It is shocking to learn that anyone can purchase a litre of acid at the market for less than US$1 and can use that as a weapon to ruin another life forever.

All in all, my time at the Post has been an excellent learning experience.  I had the opportunity to write and report stories, to get bylines and photo courtesies, to visit the provinces, and explore the social issues that are important to Cambodians.  I have learned a tremendous amount and I have made some good friends and great colleagues.

“I have worked in a number of newsrooms before, and never have I met a staff that was more welcoming and encouraging towards its newcomers.  I highly recommend the Phnom Penh Post for internships for future students, and I intend to return to Cambodia to travel and to report on more stories.”

—-Zela Chin