17 September 2007

Kirstie wins Cambodia trip

By Kirstie Kinrade

It was just a normal day in the newsroom. I was at a computer, working on my coursework, when my phone rang.

Kirstie on assignment at a Cambodian rubbish dump

‘Hi Kirstie, its Bliss magazine here,’ said a voice at the other end, ‘you’ve won a trip to report for us in Cambodia!’

I couldn’t believe it. It had been two months since I entered the competition emailed to me by the journalism department, and I had completely forgotten about it!

To enter, you had to write 150 words about a world issue that concerns you. I wrote about the media, and how they fail to report on things that don’t affect the western world.

Kirstie at a World Vision centre for street children.

Three months later, I was sitting in a hotel room in Cambodia, trying to take it all in.

We only visited the country for a week, but it was such an intense and amazing experience. The trip was hosted by a charity called ‘World Vision’ which works with children around the world, tackling everything from HIV to homelessness.

The main problem we were looking at was child sex trafficking. During the week I interviewed girls who had been sold to brothels as young as 11 years old. I went out onto the streets at night and met children of five and six who sleep in trees, because they have nowhere to go and are terrified of being beaten up by the police.

The trip was the best work experience I could have asked for. I learned how to interview vulnerable people, and how to conduct interviews through a translator.

I was glad because the team I was with allowed me to do my own thing and to interview people by myself, which has really boosted both my confidence and my shorthand speed!

As well as doing a diary and a feature article for Bliss magazine, I also kept an audio diary for BBC radio and a video diary for Sky TV.

I have made some great contacts from my trip, and although I’ve been back for more than a month now, I still can’t quite believe my luck!

My diary is in the current edition of Bliss magazine, and my feature article will be in next month’s issue.