Journalism awards recognises academic excellence


Recipients of the 2022 USP Journalism Students Awards with staff and media sponsors in Suva on Saturday. Picture: Yasmine Wright-Gittins


By GERALDINE PANAPASA, Wansolwara editor-in-chief

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all, and we can agree journalism is anything but boring” says final-year journalism student Sera Tikotikoivatu-Sefeti, who was all smiles over the weekend after scooping the Fiji Sun Tanoa Award for the most outstanding journalism student at the 2022 USP Journalism Students Awards in Suva.

Tikotikoivatu-Sefeti praised God for the recognition and urged fellow journalism students to stay true to their calling in the profession.

“Martin Luther King Jr, said, ‘the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy,” said Tikotikoivatu-Sefeti, who is also the president of the USP Journalism Students Association and recent recipient of the 2022 Vision Pasifika Media Award tertiary level journalism students category.

Fiji Sun Tanoa Award for the Most Outstanding Journalism Student 2022 recipient Sera Tikotikoivatu, left, receives her prize from Fiji Sun managing editor production Ranoba Baoa, who is also a USP Journalism alumni. Picture: Yasmine Wright-Gittins

“We have certainly been through that, through the waves of the pandemic, through the turmoil of the USP saga and experiencing waves of emotions on top of our struggle to meet our deadlines, it has definitely been an experience.”

While acknowledging the support of staff and media partners, Tikotikoivatu-Sefeti said the bond they shared as students in their academic journey was something she would cherish as she looked forward to completing her degree studies.

“We have cried together, starved together, choked coins for bara together and smiled together, your strength and love for the art of journalism continue to inspire me to be the best representative for you.

“It has been my deepest honor and pleasure to have been your president for this year, and I want to thank the journalism team personally, because it is a program that have given so much to me, I came in doubting if I would fit, but the program has opened my eyes, pushed me out of my comfort zone, and made me meet some incredibly inspiring people,” she said.

USP Journalism Programme coordinator Dr Shailendra Singh said the awards event was a tradition for the programme and was held annually to recognise and reward students who had excelled in their work.

He said the event was the longest running media awards in the region, this year marking its 21st anniversary after a lapse of two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Research has shown that Pacific Island journalists are among the lowest paid in the world. It is not necessarily the fault of the media organisations but rather then economics and relatively small media sector in the region,” he shared.

“In spite of the challenges, the Pacific region has a very proud history of journalism.”

A total of 10 students across all three levels of the journalism programme were recognised for their academic and outstanding achievements in print, broadcast and television news production.

This year’s event was sponsored by Fiji Sun, Fiji Times Limited, Island Business, MaiTV, J Hunter Pearls, SportsWorld, Pure Fiji, USP School of Pacific Arts, Communication and Education, and Damodar Cinemas. The USP Journalism Programme also acknowledged its media partners Fijilive, Fiji TV, Fiji Broadcasting Corporation, Communications Fiji Limited, Pacific Islands News Association, Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC) and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) for the support in developing regional journalism.

Recipients of the 2022 USP Journalism Students Awards

  1. J Hunter Pearls/Fiji Sun – Most Promising First Year Student Award – Nishtha Kanti
  2. Mai TV – Best Radio Student Award – Nikhil Kumar
  3. Mai TV – Best Television Student Award – Ema Ganivatu
  4. The Fiji Times Best News Reporting – Akansha Narayan
  5. The Fiji Times Best Sports Reporting – Ioane Asioli
  6. Sports World Best Sports Reporting (Female) – Nusaiba Bi
  7. Islands Business Best Feature Reporting – Penitiko Taoi
  8. Islands Business Best Online Reporting – Jone Salusalu
  9. Fiji Sun Most Improved Student – Teaiben Nomeneta
  10. Fiji Sun Award for the Most Outstanding Journalism Student – Sera Tikotikoivatu-Sefeti
The Fiji Times Best News Reporting recipient Akansha Narayan receives her prize from The Fiji Times editor-in-chief Fred Wesley. Picture: Yasmine Wright-Gittins
Nikhil Kumar, recipient of the Mai TV best radio student award, receives his prize from Mai TV senior journalist Lavenia Vuadreu. Picture: Yasmine Wright-Gittins
Final-year journalism student Jone Salusalu, left, receives his prize for the Islands Business best online reporting award from Islands Business consultant sales and marketing, Waisale Rokotuiveikau. Picture: Yasmine Wright-Gittins
Final-year journalism student representative Karishma Kumari, left, receives the Sports World award for best sports reporting by a female journalist, on behalf of recipient Nusaiba Bi, from Sports World general manager Vinod Kumar. Picture: Yasmine Wright-Gittins
USP Journalism students at the awards event on Saturday. Picture: USP Journalism Students Association
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