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14 July 2010

Initiative Pays Off For Phnom Penh Post Intern

Daniel Pordes has just graduated from the JMSC’s Master of Journalism programme. He is three weeks into a five-week internship at the Phnom Penh Post in Cambodia, organised by the JMSC.

Daniel Pordes interviewing Richie Flanagan, Head Coach of Cambodian National Rugby Team

He tells the JMSC what he’s been up to:

“Although I was a bit nervous on my first day at the Phnom Penh Post, I was really keen to avoid getting stuck with mundane duties that interns often get saddled with. Rather than the possibility of spending the day copy-editing, I was determined to do some real reporting.

“I had noticed that the day before, a preview for an Asian5nations regional rugby tournament had been written with the first game scheduled to be played that day, and so approached the journalist responsible for the piece.

“Despite not being an expert on the sport, I figured I knew enough about it to get by and asked him if he planned on covering it.

“When he said no, I approached the sports editor to see if he needed someone to do it. He gave me a shot and the match report I did was good enough that I covered the entire tournament and subsequent rugby related news — including interviewing a former Scotland International Coach and a current rugby star for the french team, Francois Trinh-Duc, giving me five big (500 words-plus) bylines in total.

“Although it has been harder to break into stories on the national desk, I am still enjoying the experience and would recommend any prospective interns to come out here.

“The most important thing is to show initiative in coming up with story ideas or taking any chance you have – even if it’s something you don’t have an expertise in. And keep nagging the editors to give you something, anything to cover.

“I have covered news conferences at the council of ministers with important political figures, to commercialization of agriculture, t0 what I’m most proud of but would never have imagined before coming to Cambodia – crunching tackles and match-winning tries!”

Pordes is originally from London. While at the JMSC he interned at the International Herald Tribune doing thinktank work on its news website, and spent three months at the Financial Times in Hong Kong.

“I hope to find a job in Hong Kong,” said Pordes, “Although my ideal job would be in sports journalism and I’m not sure how realistic that is in Hong Kong!”