USP Journalism staff with final-year student Dhruvkaran Nand, the recipient of the Exemplary Student Award. Picture: Wansolwara
Seventeen journalism students were rewarded and recognised during the 20th University of the South Pacific Journalism Student Awards Night on 10 December.
The USP Journalism Awards is the longest running, most consistent journalism awards in the Pacific region.
The Most Outstanding Graduating Students award went to Jared Koli and Shreya Kumar. The Exemplary Student Award was awarded to Dhruvkaran Nand, who recently launched his memoir, “Unlocking Destiny”.
Dhruvkaran is a student with low vision and his memoir is about the 'highs and lows' of his student life, to overcome the stigma and discrimination faced by people with disabilities.
The awards winners are as follows:
Most Promising First Year Students Award – Viliame Tawanakoro and Sera Sefeti
Best Radio Student Award – Josefa Babitu
Best Television Student Award – Ioane Asioli
Best Documentary – Group 2: Kim Rabuka, Swastika Singh, Verenaisi Domoika and Ian Chute
Best News Reporting – Wanshika Kumar and Jeshu Lal
Best Sports Reporting – Bulou Naugavule
Best Feature Reporting – Brian Lezutuni (Solomon Islands)
EJN Best Environmental Reporting – Ben Bilua (Solomon Islands), Jared Koli (Solomon Islands), Sera Sefeti and Patrick Lestro
Exemplary student award- Dhruvkaran Nand
Most Outstanding Graduating Students – Jared Koli and Shreya Kumar
The Awards Night was dedicated to Professor David Robie, former coordinator of the USP Journalism School who is based at the Auckland University of Technology.
Dr Shailendra Singh, current coordinator of the USP Journalism programme, described professor Robie as the ‘champion’ of media freedom and media development in the Pacific, both as a journalist and as an academic.
“Professor Robie’s contribution to Pacific media is unparalleled,” he said.
“Dr Robie introduced the USP Journalism awards 20 years ago and it was only fitting that he was honoured on the 20th anniversary of the awards.”
Dr Singh also paid tribute to the USP journalism alumni for making a “sterling contribution in the region and beyond in their various roles”.
He reminded students that they had an important role to play, and as journalists, to never underestimate their responsibilities to society and the power of media to effect change.
“The region faces many challenges. Climate change is seen as the gravest challenge of all but even before climate change, we face major issues like corruption and environmental degradation. In some parts of the Pacific these problems have become entrenched. As journalists, it is your responsibility to draw sustained, unrelenting attention to these issues,” Dr Singh added.
Earth Journalism News Pacific Partnership Coordinator and USP Journalism alumni, Donna Hoerder, sent a special message to the students. She said, “Remember your role is that of a watchdog or the fourth estate of power. Use your influence to tell a story that relates to now and one that can be linked to the wider picture,”
“Although COVID-19 has brought about a huge challenge for everyone, as a journalist, there is always a story to be told. Whatever you publish or broadcast, you can always relate it to the current situation. But don’t stop there, be sure to look at how this relates to the region and even at the global level,” Hoerder said.
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