Holly

Crew Member

Student at Ringwood

My Activity Diary

The Church Experience

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Every Sunday a small church meets in the bottom level of an apartment block in the middle of Suva. It is among hundreds of churches in and around the Suva area that congregate to worship and meet as a community.

The Reporters Academy, a youth media organization based in Melbourne, joined in the 3 o’clock service on Sunday, and eagerly enjoyed the experience. Chelsey, crewmember at The Reporters’ Academy who had never attended church before, said that it was “a real eye opener”. Another crewmember exclaimed that it was “the highlight of my trip so far”.

The Reporters' Academy was set to leave for home on Sunday but was grounded due to the floods affecting the region of Nadi, where the airport was shut and all roads closed.

TRA met Sainimilli Talatoka, from ONOC, at the PINA Pacific Media Summit, in which they presented The Reporters’ Academy to media delegates from all over the Pacific. When news reached Sainimilli that the group was grounded in Fiji, she generously invited them back to her church, and the crew arrived smiling on Sunday.

Religion is a large part of the culture in Fiji, with over 52% of the population Christian and 38% of the population Hindus. The Australian students marveled throughout the whole trip at how willing the Fijians were to embrace other religions other than their own and how open they were about their faith.

On Thursday the 8th, on the fifth day of their trip, The Reporters’ Academy visited Rampur College alongside ABC reporting correspondent Bruce Hill. There they met with students much like themselves and spoke to one another about the differences in their life and culture.

One popular topic that came up was the importance of faith in Fijians lives, and the openness in which they explored their faith with one another. The Australian students spoke about how often it is a taboo topic in the Australian culture and how people often close up when talking about it. The comparisons with the two sets of young people were far and wide in response to questions of faith and allowed The Reporters’ Academy students to open their eyes to a fresh and interesting perspective.

While The Reporters’ Academy students are now “ glad to be home” after all the drama of their overseas adventure, it is to be said that without the delay in their travels none of them would have ever had the “church experience”. Who knows – perhaps they were supposed to be there. God works in mysterious ways.

A Public Twist Away from the Media

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Journalism is no longer trusted by the consumers of the media. The public eye has narrowed and journalists everywhere are being looked down upon because of their profession – a profession no longer held in honour and often with little respect.

There is a crisis of confidence between the media and the public. Many cannot discern between the factual information and the opinionated pieces, making them vulnerable to false information. The trust that the public once had in the media has been abused, and therefore, is no longer there.

A BBC report shows that in a study involving 10 different countries, an average of 61% of citizens trusted the media. This leaves 39% of the population without confidence in their local and national news corporations. One in four (28%) reported abandoning a news source in the last year because they found it unreliable.

These statistics show alarming results and if nothing is done to stop the rising tide of uncertainty within the media only negativity will ensue. The public need to see integrity from the media in order to quell this rising flood.

This week delegates from all over the Pacific met in Fiji at the PINA Pacific Media Summit. The aim of the summit was “building a healthy and responsible media culture” and the issue of public trust in the media was heavily discussed. The industry is not shying away from the facts and are working hard as a united force in order to improve public relations with the media.

At the conference the need to reignite public interest the media was looked at in detail. The delegates talked through the need to look at their ethical standards and become more accountable. Many agreed that media organisations have fallen into the trap of finding that “elusive scoop”, but miss out on some of the vital details and important information. All facts need to be provided and explained clearly to allow viewers to come to their own opinion.

Whilst these are some negative aspects of the media in the Pacific, the Summit also allowed organisations to highlight the more positive points. Delegates spoke about the service they provide to the public specifically in regards to the government and keeping them accountable. One delegate even went so far to say that it was the “responsibility of the media to tell the public what the government is doing with the taxpayer’s money”.

Everyone, viewers and professionals alike, would like to see confidence of the truth restored within media. Through a curiosity for the truth, thorough research and a balance of interests this can become a reality. It is time for the media to work together towards a common goal to save their profession from a dismal decline.

My Bio

My name's Holly and I'm an Aussie currently studying at Ringwood Secondary college. During my average week I love playing netball and volleyball, cooking, sewing and, if I'm lucky, maybe a hike on the weekend. I love the outdoors and get out there as much as I can. I have a passion for Global Human Rights and am involved in "VGen", World Vision’s official youth movement that works within schools and universities to inspire, educate and empower Australia’s youth in the fight against poverty and injustice. I also love to write, and within the Reporters Academy this is something that I love to do and have really enjoyed learning more about. TRA, so far, had taught me a lot about the world of media; and I have found that it is just that - a whole other world. I look forward to finding out more about this world and improving all my skills in the upcoming months and years! Thanks for reading!