Pacific journalism education and training - the new advocacy era
For years, journalism education training in the Pacific has relied on donor funded short courses and expatriate media educators but in recent times this has been changing with the growth of more journalism schools at both universities and technical institutes and a more home grown actively qualified staff and proliferating research programmes. These changes can be reflected with the establishment of the new advocacy group, Media Educators Pacific (MEP). This is chaired by Misa Vicky Lepou, the president and she is also the head of journalism at the National University of Samoa. This body has a mission to promote and deliver the highest professional standards of training, education and research in media and journalism education relevant to the Pacific and beyond. In a region where the news media and journalism education have been forced to confront major hurdles such as military coups, as in Fiji; ethnic conflict, as in the Solomon Islands; and two rival governments and the ruthless crushing of student protests in Papua New Guinea in June 2016, major questions are faced. Along with critical development issues such as climate change and resources degradation, what are the challenges ahead for teaching contemporary journalists? These were some of the issues explored by this panel at the Fourth World Journalism Education Congress (WJEC) conference in Auckland in July 2016. The panel was chaired by the Pacific Media Centre director Professor David Robie. Speakers were Emily Matasororo of the University of Papua New Guinea, Shailendra Singh of the University of the South Pacific, Misa Vicky Lepou of the National University of Samoa and Charlie David Mandavah of the Vanuatu Institute of Technology. Eliki Drugunalevu of the University of the South Pacific provided a summing up.
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