The desire to be empowered with knowledge and skills in journalism have resulted in four senior reporters from Island Sun Newspaper taking up various scholarships this year.
DESPITE lack of priority for journalism studies offered by the Solomon Islands Government, four reporters from Island Sun Newspaper have managed to secure scholarships to begin their studies this year.
Former Chief of Staff Mr Brian Lezutuni and Senior Reporters Ben Bilua and Jared Koli have resigned to take up journalism studies at the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva Fiji.
Mr Lezutuni is a recipient of the New Zealand Regional Development Scholarships (NZRDS) to do undergraduate degree studies in journalism and law at Laucala Campus in Suva. He is already in Fiji.
Mr Bilua is the recipient of Prime Minister’s Media Excellence Award under the SIG-sponsored student to also complete undergraduate degree in journalism and law at USP.
Mr Koli was awarded a SIG Scholarship under Constituency Scholarship scheme to pursue a Degree in Journalism and Geography at USP. Both Bilua and Koli are expected to leave for Fiji soon.
All three reporters have expressed their desire to come back and work for Island Sun Newspapers upon completion of their studies.
Editor and one of the directors of the Island Sun Newspaper, Mr Priestley Habru is the fourth reporter who had secured an Australian Award Scholarship to study a Master of Arts at the University of Adelaide this year.
One of the reporters Mr Koli said the newspaper has given him the space to demonstrate his potential over the past four years he was employed by Island Sun.
“My experiences with this paper has taken me to new places, and now it has given me another crack in education. Thank you Island Sun, your Managing Director and staff for the journey I have with you.”
Outgoing Editor Mr Habru said for four reporters to go on study leave is a loss for the newsroom but he is confident capable people would fill the gap.
“In the long run we would be coming back equipped and empowered with knowledge and innovative ideas to carry Island Sun forward as a business entity.”
He added that Island Sun believes in the capacity building and human resource development of its newsroom staff and with four of them receiving scholarships this year is a manifestation of that desire.
Mr Habru said despite journalism being so often neglected and given less priority as a career that would contribute to development of Solomon Islands, he and his colleagues have managed to secure the limited opportunities that are available.
For this he wishes to thank Prime Minister Rick Houenipwela for recognising Mr Bilua as a worthy recipient of this year’s award.
“I would also like to thank the Media Association of Solomon Islands (MASI) for recommending Mr Bilua to be the recipient of this PM’s Media Excellence Award.”
He also thanked Member of Parliament for East Guadalcanal Hon. Bradley Tovosia for selecting his reporter Mr Koli as one of his constituency scholarship recipient.
“Mr Koli is a worthy recipient of East Guadalcanal Constituency MP Scholarship and I am confident he will complete his degree successfully.
“His experiences in working as a reporter for Island Sun has taken him to assignments within the country, the Pacific region and Europe.
Mr Habru also thanked the New Zealand High Commission in Honiara for selecting Mr Lezutuni on merit after a rigorous selection process.
He also commended the Australian High Commission in Honiara and its Australian Awards Scholarship staff for having the confidence in him to be among 42 Australian Scholarship recipients for 2018.
“I’m now looking forward to my studies and to come back and contribute to the development of the media industry as one of the drivers for social change in Solomon Islands,” Mr Habru said.