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Is this a challenge from Pacific Community News Editor Warkworth’s Tabs Korauaba to ‘walk the talk?

Click below to read his views on my latest blog : Mainstream media: Breaking away or breaking in?
Malo lava and best wishes for the latest Pasifika community paper.


The news that another Pasifika paper has just hit the shops means more success stories of Pacific people will be kept under the radar of mainstream news, and the majority of New Zealanders.

It’s editor Taberannang Korauba says that Pacific Community News is going to ‘fill the need for providing a more positive face to Pacific communities.

Pacific Islanders living in NZ already know about their own success stories, their involvement in the community, the developments.,

Pacific Community News like the Pacific Island media outlets already established in NZ wants to serve the same purpose for which they were set up- to provide media coverage for Pasifika people.

It will also target only Pacific Islanders.
The question is – is this what we want to be doing?

Highlighting our own success stories in our own newspapers, radio stations, media outlets so that only we can take note of them?

In doing so, we’re not allowing our non Pacific Island neigbours, co workers a look into our lives.
We’re seperating what we think is our ‘news’ from the mainstream media ‘news’ the rest of NZ is tuning into.

The way to break these barriers is for the Pacific Island journalists to join the mainstream media newsrooms around the country.

We have the understanding of our cultures, we have our ears to the ground in our Pacific communities, the contacts.

We will represent the voices and untold stories of our PI communities in these newsrooms.
It doesn’t mean being in the newsroom and focusing only on PI stories.

Your there to do the usual beat any other journalist in the newsroom would do.

Covering the courts, covering Parliament, doing the police round, but, at the same time letting your newsteam know what’s going on down in the PI communities and assisting them to cover the stories.

In 2006, 265,974 people identified as Pacific Islander in New Zealand.
That’s 6.9% of the total population.

I think these 265, 974 plus people would like to turn on the 6 pm news, pick up the main daily paper or community paper and see their stories being told.

It was interesting that the issue of the use of matai titles in the media came up briefly during the recent inaugural NZ Excellence in Reporting Diversity Awards.

This was picked up by Pacific Cooperation Foundation’s David Vaeafe, one of the judges.
Mr Vaeafe says that the Pacific chiefly titles are equivalent to the English ‘Sir’

In Samoa matai are referred to by the use of their matai titles.
E.g: A story on  Pacific Island Affairs Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban would refer to her throughout as Luamanuvao, not Ms Laban.

To refer to Luamanuvao as Ms Laban by any media outlet in Samoa would be disrespectful.
That is in the islands however.

New Zealand media’s use of matai titles according to Mr Vaeafe is done on an organisation by organisation basis.

One of the views expressed during the awards ceremony was that implementing the use of matai titles would not be too hard.
“It wouldn’t hurt us to try”

This is a good sign for Pacific Islanders in New Zealand when members of mainstream media take this approach to something so important them.

I guess this is also a sign of NZ’s growing newsroom keeping up with the the people from all walks of life picking up the papers, and tuning into the news bulletins these days.

American Samoa’s 93 KHJ News Director Monica Miller signed off one of her posts on Pacific Island Journalism Online the other day with something that really got my attention.

The uncertain future of the next generation of Pacific Island journalists.
It got my attention as I think there’s an issue here that needs to be addressed: The need to push for more young Pacific Islanders to take up journalism.

I highlighted the fact that out of my 25 Whitireia Polytechnic journalism classmates only two others were Pacific Islanders.
Hinano Andrews and Charlina Tone.

I’m yet to take a look at the numbers of Pacific Islanders enrolled in the country’s other Journalism Schools.

In Samoa despite the turnout of between 15 and 20 students from the local Polytechnic with Diplomas in Journalism each year only a handful actually move on to work in the media outlets.

Local papers, radio stations, broadcasters are always scractching around for newcomers.
The situation in neighbouring American Samoa is similar.

Mrs Miller says that as more and more media outlets open up, the competition for journalists will improve working conditions and benefits for those who practice the trade.
So there’s a need to attract more to study journalism, then there’s the need to have the benefits in place to keep them pracitsing the trade.

Pushing them in the right direction at the moment however would be to encourage them to take up journalism studies.
Then to push them in the direction where there are funds available to make this happen.

Whitireia’s projects for 2008 included the recruitment of Maori and pacific Island Journalism students.
This included the Tertiary Education Commission providing Whitireia with skills enhancement funding for up to 10 Maori and Pacific Island journalism students.

Other scholarships are available under the New Zealand short term training awards:
Maybe there is also the need to create more funding for scholarships on a regional basis.

Media consultant Alfred Sasako, journalist and former parliamentarian in Solomon Islands says that when he is in Honiara he is hounded each time by young people wanting to take up journalism studies.
That’s a good sign, at least for Solomon Islands.

The government agency Committee on University Academic Programmes (CUAP) has just given the green light to a new one year level 7 Graduate Diploma in Pacific Journalism.

Anyone interested will be able to find more in the 2009 School of Communications Studies Handbook and AUT calender for 2009/10.

Enrollments for the programme begin next month.

A note in the announcement many would have taken to was the fact that a Pacific programme leader is being recruited to teach the new course.

I’m looking forward to hearing the announcement of the Pacific programme leader.

No doubt this person will have an influence on the interested applicants and hopefully it’s someone all will feel comfortable with teaching the programme.

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