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Journalism growth in Samoa, subject in need of attention

The rapid growth of journalism skills and technology in Samoa has become the focus of a workshop funded by UNESCO under its International Program for Development of Communication, designed to explore the standard of Samoan journalism.

The workshop is the fourth installment of the grant funded project that aims to be a refresher course for Samoan journalists.

“We feel the growth of journalism in Samoa is changing and what we’re trying to figure is if this development is even applicable to Samoa,” said training instructor Rudy Bartley.

“Video Journalism is becoming a fast growing part of media in the world with journalists being able to work on a high rate, independently by filming, editing, and producing their own work instead of having to rely on many people with different expertise to do one packaged job,” he added.

The focus was to evaluate whether video journalism is possible as the next step for the Samoan media. Editor for TV3 News, Muliaga Mila Maualaivao says such expertise would mean a big step forward for Samoan media.

“When you have someone who is highly skilled as a video journalist, who can film their own stories, edit and produce their own work without the help of a cameraman or video editor, you’re talking about a very expensive person,” he said.

“And that means two things to me. Either you as the owner of a television station has to raise the journalists pay or the journalist may consider going freelancing and doing their own work,” he said.

Muliaga says while that development is a great step to better skilled journalism, it could also mean disaster for some.

“It’s going to affect how the free media will be practiced. If a video journalist decides to go freelancing, then you’ll be looking at more propaganda news than actual hard hitting exposes and it hurts journalism,” he said.

Concerns about how the government may begin to use freelance medium for their use may ultimately affect freedom of press.

“It’s compensation. When you have a skilled journalist who can do all the work themselves, then you have to reward them for saving time and money for the other unnecessary people who could be working but aren’t doing anything at all,” said Bartley.

“Bottom line is if the journalist is that skilled, whether freelancing or employed, it all comes down to ethics,” said Muliaga. LoopSamoa
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