The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Journalism Programme met with a fact-finding team from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) at the Laucala Campus in Suva last week.
The meeting discussed media issues in the region and further collaboration to boost media capacity.
USP Journalism Course Coordinator and Senior Lecturer, Dr Shailendra Singh, and journalism staff met the ABC International Services Head, Claire Gorman, ABC International Development Lead Jo Elsom, Head of Sport, Nick Morris, and ABC Asia-Pacific News Managing Editor, Matt O’Sullivan.
The meeting looked at how ABC International Development (ABCID) and its regional media development programme, the Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS) could assist the media in Fiji and journalism students at USP.
The discussion included content sharing, student professional attachments, as well as priority topics, such as youth, gender and regional cooperation, in which ABC is active.
According to Dr Singh, it was a historic visit by a strong ABC team who wanted to get a feel of the situation on the ground and obtain first-hand information, since they spent a lot of resources covering the Pacific and conducting training to build media capacity in the region.
On how the partnership could enhance the future of the media in Fiji and the Pacific, Dr Singh said, “ABC has a lot of experience in journalism in the Pacific and we have our knowledge and experience as the people on the ground, with first-hand experience. We are trying to see how we can leverage our strengths for the best outcome for Pacific journalism.
“Because of the nature of their media capacity-building work, they are interested in our research in Pacific media. PACMAS partially funded USP research on Pacific journalists’ demography and professional views which was published last year (2021). We are in discussions to see how we can collaborate further.”
According to Dr Singh, news content by ABC served as teaching material, as does the research conducted by PACMAS.
“In the past, we had internships for USP journalism students. We are seeing whether this can be revived or not. Our students also participate in PACMAS training in the region, so their learning is broadened,” added Dr Singh.
USP Journalism students and staff have participated in several ABCID/PACMAS capacity-building workshops and training, including:
- Women Leaders Media Masterclass
- Reporting the Story of Us: Media Masterclass
- Factcheck webinar
- Pacific Resilience Masterclass, and:
- Training of Trainers short-course for Fiji journalists
The ABC executives were also given a brief tour of the newly-furbished USP Journalism facilities and the Laucala Campus.