Success Stories 6 Jul 2018
Our PCF Interns joined Oceania Media this week to learn about their flagship publication SPASIFIK magazine to gain an insight into various media and the media landscape in general as part of Pacific Cooperation Foundation’s (PCF) Media Internship Programme 2018.
University of South Pacific journalism students Elizabeth Osifelo (from the Solomon Islands), Adi Anaseini (Ana) Civavonovono and Salote Qalubau (Fiji) and National University of Samoa journalism student Yumi Talaave visited the Oceania Media team based in West Auckland suburb of Kumeu.
After two weeks of TV, digital and radio, the students were given an insight into how the staff of Oceania Media publishes SPASIFIK magazine.
Innes Logan director of Oceania Media Ltd, which publishes SPASIFIK, says it was a good opportunity for the students to see what it takes to sustain a print publication in the digital era.
“We’ve been publishing SPASIFIK for 15 years, producing 71 issues and counting,” he says.
“We have many schools and council libraries and Pacific-related organisations nationwide subscribing with us. We still sell magazines through outlets. It’s the quality of content that counts and makes people want to buy, subscribe and read our publication.
“But our business is more focused in the digital space anyway, developing and maintaining websites for clients, mainly Pacific, from concepts to full design, including and programming, and providing quality online content which our Pacific community engages with.
The interns had an editorial meeting with Oceania Media journalist Laumata (Mata) Lauano, which Ana, a journalism and politics major, admits she initially had reservations about.
“When she said we were going to have an editorial meeting, I was reserved,” says Ana.
“But once the discussion started, I felt comfortable and gained confidence to give my ideas and thoughts.”
The interns were encouraged to bring forth their own ideas, look at how they might pursue the story and from what angle they would do so.
“It was good to see the array of issues they brought to the table,” says Mata. They were interested in all of them and were critical of some coverage of the Pacific in the media. Mata encouraged each student to not be shy about pitching their own ideas.
“We started with how our editorial meetings at Oceania Media are run, and had the students take part in and to contribute. It was great to see them so passionate about storytelling and raising awareness of issues that affect our Pacific people.”
Elizabeth, a third-year journalism student, raised the issue of the lack of representation of Melanesian countries when it comes to reporting on ‘the Pacific’, which encouraged her to pursue and develop more Melanesian stories.
“I would like to see more Melanesian content under the banner of Pacific. It has been a common trend in New Zealand that there’s a lot of Pacific, but not so much inclusion and balance of Melanesian stories. Journalists need to really reach out to those communities.”
Elizabeth appreciated seeing how SPASIFIK magazine with Pacific Peoples Health are produced from the ground up.
“It was a good opportunity to see how a print media organisation approaches stories and to see how they put it all together.”
Fellow USP journalism student Salote, from Fiji, agreed, adding that Pacific content in any medium helps to give a Pacific perspective.
“It’s a good way to get Pacific people’s stories out there, about the issues that we face.”
In her first year of journalism at the National University of Samoa, Yumi said she was excited to be a part of brainstorming and workshopping ideas as a group, describing it as “outside of the box” from how she was taught.
Yumi is optimistic the experience will prove helpful to her as she completes her first year.
The Pacific Cooperation Foundation (PCF) Media Programme, now in its third year, focuses on improving the level and quality of media exposure in the Pacific, with particular interest on economic development, arts and culture.
For the past two weeks from June 24-July 9 students have been hosted by Sunpix (Tagata Pasifika), the Pacific Media Network (Radio 531pi and NiuFm), the Pacific Media Centre at AUT, Radio New Zealand (RNZ), and now Oceania Media Ltd (SPASIFIK magazine). They have experienced the reality of working both as a journalist in general, but also in the New Zealand media context, engaged with Pacific reporters based in New Zealand and gained a better understanding of regional issues.