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USP Journalism Students Scoop National Media Award

USP Journalism Students Scoop National Media Award

By Sarika

SUVA (Wansolwara Online/Pacific Media Watch): Two University of the South Pacific student journalists won a major Fiji national media award at a ceremony last night.

Tiriseyani Naulivou, 22, and Sushil Patel, 21, were awarded the Norske Skog Print Media Award ahead of 24 other entries at the inaugural Fiji Awards for Media Excellence (FAME) in 2004.

It was in recognition of their feature story, "Drowning in Dirt", which focused on environmental degradation and pollution at Suva Point, the only beachside picnic spot in Suva.

A third USP journalism student, Fiji Times reporter Vasemaca Rarabici, shared the Westpac Media Woman Recognition Award with three other recipients.

The chairman of the judging panel, Jim Bentley, said the USP entries were of a high standard and stood above the rest.

Patel and Naulivou wrote their winning story while they were first year students. It was published in the journalism student training newspaper, Wansolwara, in November last year.

Both were elated by the win. Patel described it as a "dream come true" while Naulivou said it was unexpected but very satisfying.

Patel and Tiriseyani received $2000 cash as well as a Freedom Air return flight to New Zealand.

Citing a study carried out by the university¹s science students, the story revealed that the waters at Suva Point contained high levels of heavy metals, sewerage and other waste.

It highlighted how picnickers were still flocking there for a swim and people were harvesting food from the waters despite the danger of dangerous diseases.

"We were trying to raise awareness among people about how their actions were affecting the environment in that area, especially the presence of dangerously high levels of faecal coliform," said Naulivou, who is assistant editor of Wansolwara.

Journalism lecturer and Wansolwara supervising-editor-in-chief, Shailendra Singh, said the win was a boost for the two students and the university¹s journalism programme.

³For Sushil and Tiri to win the award for a story they wrote as first-year students is an honour, especially given that the print category was the most competitive of all with strong representation from the mainstream media," he said.

A second front-page story by the same students entitled "Crown of thorns invasion", in the June 2004 issue of Wansolwara was also considered for the award.

Singh said the journalism programme faced a lot of challenges, especially in the area of staffing, but continued to perform and produce quality work.

Last December, Wansolwara, the flagship publication of the university's journalism programme, also won the top prize (Best Regular Publication of any medium) at the Ossie Awards for student journalism.


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