- Program Year
- Country of Current Residence
- City/Town of Current Residence
- Current Position
- News Editor
- Bhutan Broadcasting Service Corporation
Journalist, News Editor
- Communications (including media), Journalism, Research
- Dzongkha, English
- Interest(s) / Expertise
- education, film, journalism, social media
I have always craved learning. And I love sharing the things that I learn. Being a journalist allows me to do both. And I love my job wholeheartedly.
In January 2015, Dechen moved to Perth, Australia to do her Masters in media and communication. Dechen nourished the dream of becoming a teacher through high school and college. And, when she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in literature from Sherubtse College, she became a school teacher. But, she was to undergo a change of heart. She believed in teaching, in shaping the future, and changing the world around her – but not one classroom at a time.
A year later, when she saw a job vacancy for a reporter at the Bhutan Broadcasting Service Corporation (BBS), she seized the opportunity and there has been no looking back. Dechen immersed herself in her work, learning the craft of news gathering and storytelling, often travelling on foot for days to remote villages looking for news stories concerning ordinary people, particularly the poor and the needy. She has always been conscious of her social responsibility. In college, she was an active member of the Social Service Unit, a students’ association that serves the community, especially disadvantaged people, in and around the college. She helped raise funds, construct houses, toilets, provide safe drinking water, supply food rations and educate the villagers on health and hygiene, the benefits of family planning, and sending their children to school.
She applied herself with the same zeal to her new job and within a year, her hard work and dedication paid off. Dechen was promoted to English News Editor for Television News of BBS, a position usually reserved for journalists with decades of experience in the newsroom. In this capacity, she worked with Sauvé alumnus Dawa of the 2005-2006 cohort.
While Dechen missed the thrill of field reporting, she gained invaluable experience in newsroom management and policy matters, playing an active and core role in developing the vision of the organization. Furthermore, she participated in the planning and overseeing of the coverage for Bhutan’s first-ever parliamentary elections in 2008, and the Kingdom’s transition to a democracy. In September 2009, Dechen returned to the field; since then, she has served as the correspondent for the southern region of Bhutan, covering the commercial and industrial heartland of Bhutan, which borders the strategic part of India’s northern boundary with China. From accompanying the Prime Minister on state visits to neighbouring countries, to covering corruption in trade and industrial relations, she is once again enjoying the process of learning and sharing her learning. As the first female correspondent in the region, she is also proud that she has paved the way for female colleagues to take up postings in bureaus that are considered risky and dangerous.
As a Fellow, Dechen studied public service broadcasting in Canada, focusing on funding model. Dechen understands that a sustainable funding model is a pre-requisite for public service broadcasters’ success. Dechen explored the funding model employed by Canada’s public service broadcaster, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), in order to bring key lessons home to Bhutan’s nascent equivalent, the Bhutan Broadcasting Service Corporation (BBS).
Dechen distilled key lessons from the Canadian context and crafted media policy, regulatory, legislative and financial recommendations for her home country. Dechen’s passion for contributing to the sustainability of public broadcasting in Bhutan stems from her belief that free, fair media will support and strengthen that country’s young democracy.
To share her work, Dechen organized a panel discussion at Sauvé House entitled “Sustaining Public Service Broadcasting: Lessons from Canada for Emerging Democracies.” Dechen set the stage by outlining her project results and then moderated a panel discussion led by Dr. Darin Barney and Dr. Marc Raboy from McGill University and CBC/Radio-Canada’s Reporter and Correspondent for Latin America and the Caribbean Jean-Michel Leprince. The panelists addressed the key challenges facing Canada’s public service broadcaster, the CBC/Radio-Canada, in light of recent budget cuts and other constraints.
Dechen’s Sauvé Project was particularly well timed: 2011-12 was marked by intense debate and discussion within the academic and broader public spheres surrounding CBC/Radio-Canada’s financing. As a Sauvé Scholar, Dechen also had an opportunity to spend time in the newsrooms of CBC/Radio-Canada and CTV, Canada’s largest privately owned television station. There, she had the opportunity to hone and expand her journalistic skills. She further enhanced these skills by following a photojournalism course at Concordia University. While based in Montreal, Dechen also embraced the opportunity to fulfil a lifelong goal: she learned French by following an intensive French language course at the Centre Saint-Louis.