Pacific journos converge in Suva to discuss ‘critical issues’

Journalists from 11 Pacific Island countries were part of the East-West Centre’s Pacific Islands Journalism Reporting Tour 2019 of the US. Image: East-West/Facebook

By Wansolwara staff in Suva

Twelve leading journalists from 11 Pacific Island countries will converge in Suva, Fiji, this Friday to discuss critical issues affecting the region including climate change and natural disaster relief and recovery and regional security.

The one-day “Capstone at The University of the South Pacific” (USP) Laucala Campus marks the culmination of three weeks of dialogue, study and reporting tours of the US undertaken by the journalism fellows covering Honolulu, Washington D.C., Galveston, and San Francisco.

The US State Department-funded tours have been organised and overseen by three Hawaii-based East-West Centre staff: media programme manager Susan Kreifels, senior programme officer Scott Kroeker, and program co-coordinator Katie Bartels.

READ MORE: USP journo students return from Solomons climate storytelling project

Besides covering critical issues affecting the Pacific on their tour, the journalism fellows received in-depth skills-based training in fact-checking, open source research methodologies and news literacy and disinformation/propaganda challenges in the local news and social media networks in the region.

The Suva workshop is jointly hosted by the East-West Centre, the Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) and the USP Journalism Programme in Suva.

The workshop will focus on students sharing their “learnings and experiences” from the intensive three weeks of engagement and discussion.

The USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Pal Ahluwalia, will also address the fellows.

The coordinator of the USP Journalism Programme Dr Shailendra Singh said he was looking forward to the workshop in which 30 USP journalism students will also participate.

“It’s a great learning opportunity,” said Dr Singh. “I was part of a similar programme earlier this year for journalism academics from around the world — the Study of the US Institute for Scholars fellowship — hosted by the Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of journalism.  It was a marvellous academic and cultural experience.”

USP Journalism has played crucial training role in the region for 30 years, with over 300 graduates in prominent media roles in the region and beyond.

The PINA manager Makereta Komai said as a regional media organisation, PINA was happy to partner with the East West Centre and USP Journalism in up-skilling Pacific journalists.

“This study tour is a great learning opportunity for the Pacific media to engage and discuss issues directly with US decision makers and see first-hand how the US is implementing policies related to climate change and disaster risk reduction, regional security and issues related to the media.”

As the premier regional organisation representing the interests of media professionals in the Pacific, PINA links together radio, television, newspapers, magazines, online services, national associations and journalism schools in 20 island nations.

  • The Pacific Media Centre and Asia Pacific Report have a publishing partnership with the University of the South Pacific journalism programme
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