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USP journalism head backs university degrees

USP journalism head backs university degrees

Academic Qualifications Plus Hands-On Experience Best For Journalists: Nadkarni l

By Shiwani Diwakar

SUVA (Wansolwara Online/Pacific Media Watch): Outgoing journalism coordinator Dev Nadkarni has highlighted the importance of academic qualifications for journalists while calling on the University of the South Pacific to improve journalism training facilities.

Nadkarni, USP's third coordinator who is leaving after a year in the job, says that while experience is an advantage, it is not sufficient.

"Everywhere in the world, media employers today insist on a professional qualification. Gone are the days when hands-on experience was everything," he said.

"Hands-on experience plus a degree would take journalism in this region and in Fiji to a much higher level.

"Solely hands-on experience cannot do that - the degree provides the necessary outlook and vision."

Nadkarni observed there was reluctance among media organisations to hire journalism graduates, and also reluctance among graduate journalists to take up mainstream media employment because of the industry's poor salary structure and working conditions.

He said there had been a slight shift in attitude among both the media and the journalists.

"Of late, this attitude seems to be changing. Some of our graduates are quite happy working with media outlets in Fiji and the Solomon Islands and by all accounts their employers seem to be happy with them," he said.

A recent survey showed that more than 75 percent of the 68 USP graduates between 1996 and 2002 had entered the region's media.

Nadkarni said USP needed to improve its journalism programme infrastructure and teaching resources.

'It is definitely a little stressed both in terms of infrastructure and teaching resources vis-à-vis the broad range of courses that are on offer."

He suggested the university develop a communication programme to be part of efforts to improve the current journalism structure in a broader framework.

"There is nothing like a school of communications anywhere in the region and the USP is eminently capable of setting up one that journalism could be a part of," Nadkarni said.

He is leaving USP for personal reasons and going to New Zealand.

The coordinator's position has been advertised by USP with an April 16 deadline. nt/advertisements/printadvertisement.txt&pos_number=FJP012&close_date=2004-0 4-16&session_id=1&rt=Web%20Report&run=1



PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media based in Sydney, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG), the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and Community Communications Online (c2o).

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