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Graduation Day Reunion A Cause For Celebration

Graduation Day Reunion A Cause For Celebration


SUVA (Wansolwara Online/Pacific Media Watch): It was an occasion to remember for three University of the South Pacific journalism students and their former lecturer when they graduated together during Friday¹s ceremony in Fiji.

The former coordinator of the USP journalism programme, David Robie, was awarded a doctorate in history/politics while three of his former students - Akka Rimon (Kiribati), Lauren Robinson and Kaveeta Chand (both Fiji) - received bachelors degrees, majoring in journalism.

Dr Robie, now a senior journalism lecturer at Auckland University of Technology¹s School of Communication Studies, said it was a relief to have completed his doctorate since he had faced many hardships trying to balance fulltime work and study.

He dedicated his achievement to his wife, Del, who was at the graduation.

"This achievement is for my wife who has always supported me and encouraged me at difficult times to work on completing my thesis," he said.

His 83-year-old father Jim, mother Jean (80) and one of his two sisters, Pauline, from New Zealand were also at the graduation of about 800 students at USP.

The USP journalism coordinator for six years, Dr Robie said it was a great honour for him to complete his PhD at USP since his thesis was on Pacific media.

After covering the South Pacific as a journalist for 20 years, he taught at the University of Papua New Guinea prior to joining USP.

"It's been hard trying to do a thesis and working at the same time, especially in 2000 during the coup,² said Dr Robie.

Of the 10 prizes and highly commended citations won by the USP journalism programme at the [Australian] Journalism Education Association's Ossie Awards during Dr Robie¹s time, one was the coveted Dr Charles Stuart Award for the 2000 coup coverage.

Of the students, Lauren Robinson, now working for Fiji Television, graduated with a BA and double major in journalism and community psychology.

She said she was relieved three years of study was finally over.

"No more assignments and exams. I'm just looking forward to pursuing a career in journalism and the things I'm interested in like production work."

Robinson won the journalism programme¹s best editor/news director award last year.

She dedicated her achievement to her parents for the "late night pick-ups and for providing everything that I needed for school".

Her parents, who were present at the graduation, were visibly moved.

John Robinson was proud that his daughter¹s academic achievements had surpassed his own.

"I attribute Lauren's success to God," he said.

Akka Rimon, who now works for the Kiribati Government, flew in from Kiribati for the graduation.

"It was hard coping with assignments and meeting deadlines but it was worth the suffering," she said.

Rimon dedicated her success to her late father.

She won the USP programme¹s Storyboard Award for best graduating regional student last year.



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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