From campus to newsroom in the South Pacific: credible media career paths versus "academic anaemia"
The University of the South Pacific’s Regional Journalism Programme, which caters for 12 member countries1 from the Cook Islands in the east to the Solomon Islands in the west, was founded in 1994 with French Government aid. It began producing double major graduate journalists for the South Pacific from 1996. Two-thirds of the graduates live and work in Fiji. While some news media organisations in Fiji have generally recruited graduates, others have preferred to hire untrained school leavers. Parallel with draft legislation designed to turn the self-regulating Fiji Media Council into a statutory body, there have been public calls for higher media standards and more professional training and education. This article explores the career attitudes and destination of the university’s 68 journalism graduates between 1996 and 2002 based on empirical data from a five-year monitoring project that started in 1998. It also examines the policies of the Fiji media industry towards graduates and education.