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USP Farewells Outgoing Journalism Coordinator

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Tuesday June 04, 2002


The University community today (June 4) officially farewelled its outgoing coordinator of the journalism programme, Mr David Robie, at a luncheon hosted by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Rajesh Chandra and the University’s management staff.

Senior Lecturer in Journalism Mr Robie, 57, is moving to New Zealand for health and family reasons and will be joining the largest communications school in New Zealand ? the School of Communications Studies at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) - after developing the University of the South Pacific's fledgling Journalism programme for almost five years. The University recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the AUT, allowing the two institutions to develop collaborative teaching and research in various disciplines.

"Thanks to your commitment, hard work and passion, the journalism programme, despite the many hurdles which you have had to contend with, is now firmly in place and is up and running," Vice-Chancellor Mr Savenaca Siwatibau said in a farewell message.

Mr Siwatibau told Mr Robie that the University put high priority on the journalism programme and was convinced that over time, the programme would help re-establish and entrench good governance in the region.

Mr Robie said he will miss USP's lively students and beautiful campus, but he needed to make the change for family and health reasons. "In some ways it is rather sad to be leaving the Pacific after a decade of contribution in the region's journalism education, but I am sure I'll be back in various capacities," he said.

Mr Robie, a New Zealand journalist and author, joined USP in 1998 after coordinating the journalism programme at the University of Papua New Guinea for five years. He developed the journalism programme at USP and established the electronic daily news services Wansolwara Online and Pacific Journalism Online, as media and education resources for the journalism students. He also developed the main newsroom at the School of Humanities and established an office for the journalism programme’s training newspaper, Wansolwara. Recently, he initiated the establishment of a multi-media digital audio and video editing suite for the programme, which is being further developed by the University’s new lecturer in broadcast journalism Mr Steve Sharp.

During Mr Robie's leadership, the journalism programme has produced 55 journalism graduates for the South Pacific region and won 10 awards and citations in the annual Ossie Awards for student journalism organised by Australia's Journalism Education Association (JEA). He also edited a new generation journalism textbook, ‘The Pacific Journalist: A Practical Guide’.

Future plans for the journalism programme include a new journalism building at the Laucala Campus, focussing more heavily on quality than on quantity in terms of graduates. This would be achieved by restricting entrance to the second and third year courses. The University has internationally advertised the Journalism Coordinator’s position and a temporary coordinator is expected for the second semester.

The journalism programme was established at USP with French Government aid in 1994 by founding coordinator Mr François Turmel. After initial enrolments of about six students in the programme, the journalism programme currently has an enrolment of about 45 students.


Media Release issued by the USP Marketing & Public Relations Office. Further information: Hamidan Bibi tel: 3212025 or 9936098 or Mosmi Bhim, tel: 3212355. Hamidan Bibi Public Relations Officer Marketing & Public Relations Office, USP Phone 679 3212025 fax 679 3300640



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, the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism, and Pactok Communications, in Sydney and Port Moresby.

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