Wansolwara News

Vol. 5 No. 2
June 2000

Page 14

USP JOURNOS TACKLE THE HOSTAGE CRISIS
By CHRISTINE GOUNDER

Above: Wansolwara editors at work in the newsroom on the Fiji coup special edition: From left: Deputy editor Losana McGowan, editor Reggie Dutt, reporter Joe Yaya and pictures editor Peter Emberson.
Photo: Harry Aurere (PNG)

Above: Journalism coordinator David Robie.
Photo: Peter Emberson (Fiji)

 

WHILE most students at the University of the South Pacific rushed home for safety on the day of the takeover of Fiji's elected government by George Speight and his gunmen, student journalists chose to be on the job.

Grabbing the opportunity to hone their reporting skills, the young journalists did not waste any time rushing to Parliament and the looting and arson sites around Suva to report the news.

Since Prime Minister Mahendra Chaudhry and his government were seized hostage on May 19, the young journalists have been working vigorously to produce news for their website Pacific Journalism Online which has been updated on an hourly basis.

Stories were also being written for award-winning student training newspaper, Wansolwara.

The news team comprises about 20 volunteer first, second and third level degree students who have been going to Parliament and other news centres every day for a week to report on events taking place.

"We have an editorial meeting in the morning and assign students to do different stories," Wansolwara editor Reggie Dutt said. "Some go to Parliament to report and take pictures, and others keep a track of events in the newsroom by monitoring the news on TV and on the radio," he added.

News of the coup was broken by a final-year journalism student on a six-week attachment at Radio Fiji, Tamani Nair.

Matelita Ragogo, a part-time journalism student, was in Parliament when armed men walked in and took them hostage. She was later released along with other journalists in Parliament.

Journalism coordinator David Robie said the students had done excellent work with limited transport and logistics facilities. "It is a tremendous opportunity for student journalists to cover a major international news event of this kind," he said.

Robie added that USP students had dramatically improved with their stories and digital pictures as the week developed.

Some students' digital photos were used by international news services. The international response to the website and the work of the student journalists was also been strong.

A reader from United Kingdom said: "It's good to see you online as the news of the coup reaching Europe is vague and one-sided - keep up with the good journalism".

 


File created: 3 June 2000
Copyright © 1999-2000 Journalism USP.
University of the South Pacific
PO Box 1168
Suva, Fiji Islands

Online Editor: Christine Gounder

Web creator: David Robie


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