Some of the award recipients at the Journalism Awards Evening.
The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) journalism programme held its annual awards on 21 October 2016 at the Laucala Campus in recognition of the efforts by aspiring journalists in its fold.
The awards function, sponsored by the School of Language, Arts and Media (SLAM) and Faculty of Arts, Law and Education, recognises and rewards students who excel in their coursework, which includes producing news for print, online and broadcast media.
This year the Journalism programme commemorated the 20th anniversary of its student training newspaper, Wansolwara.
Former USP lecturer and founder of Wansolwara, Dr Philip Cass, was the chief guest at the awards ceremony.
According to Dr Cass, the foundation of the student newspaper was a big learning process for the then journalism staff and students.
“The success of Wansolwara reflects the hard work done by my successors and all staff who have worked on it over the years,” Dr Cass said.
Dr Cass added that being part of the 20th anniversary of the student newspaper was a special moment for him.
He is now teaching at UNITEC, New Zealand.
Journalism Programme Coordinator Dr Shailendra Singh said that the awards ceremony is an important event in the journalism school’s annual calendar since it was introduced by former USP Journalism Coordinator, Professor David Robie.
Dr Singh said students practice real-time journalism as part of their training and the best of them are rewarded with cash prizes and certificates.
“The awards are well supported by the media industry in Fiji who sponsors the prizes,” Dr Singh said.
“The media industry representatives attend the function and present prizes in person, which is a boost for future journalists of the region,” Dr Singh added.
Dr Singh said the need for well-trained journalists had increased with the onset of social media and citizen journalism, especially in the face of ongoing development problems faced by the region.
“It is very important to encourage potential young journalists by recognising, incentivising and rewarding good examples of journalism. The awards ceremony is an important occasion, given USP’s critical role in nurturing future journalists to meet the needs of the region,” Dr Singh said.
USP Journalism Programme has produced more than 200 graduates working in various media roles throughout Pacific and beyond.
USP Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Rajesh Chandra who was a member of the advisory committee that founded the programme more than twenty (20) years ago, says journalism is an essential part of nation building.
In a press conference with journalism students early in the semester, Professor Chandra said the need for good journalism in the region underscored the need to invest in its journalism programme.
Many graduates of USP journalism work in newsrooms around the region, including Australia.
Several are leading their news publications. Some are successful publishers. Also, many regional/international organisations that were previously held by expatriates are now filled by USP Journalism graduates. A number of them have become communication specialists and serve government and non-government organisations at national and international level.
Supporters of USP Journalism from the media industry, non-governmental organisations, the corporate sector, and USP community and journalism alumni also attended the function.
For the Journalism programme, the awards night provided an opportunity to catch up and thank its comrades in the media industry and its community partners.
Following are the award recipients:
Encouragement Award, sponsored by Cover Story Limited, the publisher of the Mai staple of magazines – Mai Life, Mai Style, Mai Wedding & Mai Travel - Semi Lauti
Fiji Live Most Promising First Year Student Award - Telstar Jimmy
FBC Best Sports Reporter Award - Simon Abana
Communications Fiji Best Radio Student Award- Linda Filiai
Fiji TV Best Television Student Award - Travis Ronnie
The Fiji Times Best Student Photographer - Ruci Vakamino
The Fiji Times Best News Story - Shivika Mala
Islands Business Best Features Reporter Award - Heather Traill
Business Melanesia Best Editor Award - Chrisnrita Aumanu
PINA Storyboard Award for Best Regional Reporting - Lowen Sei
Fiji Sun Tanoa Award for Best Graduating Journalism Student - Sonal Singh
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