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*See Pacific Media Watch item 2394 at )

SUVA, Fiji Islands (October 10, 1999 – Journalism, USP/Pacific Media Watch/Pasifik Nius/Niuswire)---Journalism education in the South Pacific is taking a leap into the satellite era as the regional university develops its new F$ 13 million (US$ 6.656 million) communications plan.

Journalism coordinator David Robie told the Pacific Islands News Association convention in Suva that the regional journalism program was well placed to use audio, television and intranet links opened up by the project.

The communications system - which includes independent telephone, fax, data exchange and intranet links between the University of the South

Pacific's main Laucala Bay campus in Suva and its two regional campuses and centers in 12 countries - opened "exciting possibilities", said Robie.

The new system is undergoing transmission tests at present and is expected to be ready for the start of the academic year in February 2000.

Speaking on the theme "Pacific Journalism Education in the Millennium," Robie said the objective of journalism education would be to produce journalism graduates with "multi-skilling and flexibility."

"Long gone are the days when journalists could be trained in traditional media skills and values alone," he said.

"In these days of media convergence, we need to produce graduates who are equally proficient in the Internet and online journalism with television, radio and print skills.

"The Pacific journalist of the millennium needs to be far-better educated and trained at the entry point for journalism careers if they are to cope with future rapid changes in communication technology.

"But we also need journalists with integrity, who have been trained with a solid foundation of ethics and basic news values.

"They must be able to work with new technologies while keeping a commitment to core values of accuracy, fairness and truth."

Robie described how the USP journalism program had launched a regional media website, Pacific Journalism Online, in April 1998. He said use of the Internet and email and web design had now become routine components of the journalism courses.

Title -- 2397 REGION: Pacific journalism education eyes satellite plan Date -- 10 October 1999 Byline – None Origin -- Pacific Media Watch Source -- Journalism, University of the South Pacific, 10/10/99 Copyright -- Journalism, USP Status -- Unabridged

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