Island nations in the south Pacific and their communication needs: From a journalism education perspective

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Papoutsaki, Evangelia
Sharp, Steve
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Conference Contribution - Oral Presentation
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
journalism education
South Pacific
curriculum analysis
ANZSRC Field of Research Code (2020)
Papoutsaki, E., & Sharp, S. (2005, July). Island nations in the south Pacific and their communication needs: From a journalism education perspective. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre, Beijing.
This paper discusses how journalism education addresses the information/communication needs of island nations in the South Pacific region. It provides with an overview of the communication situation in these nations, identifies the information needs they have and how/if they are addressed by the existing journalism and communication higher education programs. Vast distances, scattered populations, diverse traditions, ethnic conflicts, persisting colonial influences, poor economies and unstable political regimes, lack of infrastructure, fragmented and insignificant market places for both goods and ideas, are some of the reasons why most of the Melanesian, Polynesian and Micronesian microstates have been underdeveloped and also left out of the main communication developments. Taking into account these countries’ distinctiveness, one needs to ask what purpose Higher Education specializations such as journalism and communication serve and how they can best contribute to the development of these countries. Examining the position of journalism education within HE in PNG, Fiji and the other south pacific countries, we get a better understanding of the priority these countries give to address their communication needs. The paper takes as case studies two major journalism and communication programs in the region, the Communication Arts Department at Divine Word University and the Journalism Program at the University of South Pacific. They are approached through curriculum analysis by looking at their different components (media literacy, general education, academic and vocational nature), and their appropriateness for these societies needs and institutional and external support through foreign aid (discussing the practical and ideological influences that have shaped their construction). The paper concludes with identifying the common issues regarding journalism education in the region and suggesting mechanisms of addressing them.
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Evangelia Papoutsaki, Steve Sharp
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