Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Saigon Creative December event Friday 16 – Nick Ross

Nick Ross in Istanbul.

This Friday we welcome our next speaker Nick Ross. A resident of Vietnam for almost 12 years, Nick is the chief editor of the English language magazine, The Word.

Born in the UK, besides his present job Nick has also worked as a music journalist, a reporter for BBC Radio Bristol and a production manager for a contract publisher in the UK. He spent his first six years in this country working in education - teaching and managing teachers both in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. His present role with The Word started in 2005 with the launch of the English language magazine Saigon Inside Out. Over the following three years, this magazine transformed into the one it is now.

Nick will talk about the growing creativity in the publishing industry in Vietnam and how it no longer always pays to "play it safe". Contrary to western belief, the media industry in Vietnam is far more open and buoyant than perceived overseas. Reporters without Borders places Vietnam as number 165 in the media freedom charts, just slightly above Cuba and North Korea. According to Nick, the particular conditions of operating in Vietnam and the commercial needs of publications means that this is a mistaken assessment.


Nick Ross started out professional life as a music journalist before a stint on a programme on BBC Radio Bristol saw him move into the publishing industry. Working for a contract publisher on a number of specialist titles in a range of industries, Nick left the comparative safety of little England in the late 1990s to seek 'new experience'. Little did he know that a proposed six-month trip to Southeast Asia would turn into a decade-long stint in Vietnam.

Nick's present journey on the publication The Word started in early 2005 after the relaunch of an education magazine in Singapore. Returning to the comparative safety of Ho Chi Minh City, together with a friend and fellow journalist he decided to launch a magazine called Saigon Inside Out. After a number of false starts and then issues with licensing, it finally hit the streets in November 2005. Saigon Inside Out was the first wholly privately owned English language publication in Vietnam.

10 issues later and Saigon Inside Out came to an abrupt halt. After a short hiatus it returned with a new name, Asialife. This publication ran for a year before Nick decided to move on set up The Word Ho Chi Minh City with his wife, Duong Vy Bao.

The Word launched in January 2008 and has been going strong ever since. In November 2009 the team behind The Word launched a separate edition in Hanoi.

An avid reader - on bad weeks he can go through four or five novels in less than seven days - Nick's role as chief editor has seen him develop his skills as a writer and a photographer. Both outspoken and yet diplomatic, to the point and yet wide of the mark, Nick will be bringing his experience of working in the media in Vietnam to Saigon Creative.

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