NUS journalism mark milestones but work remains

The National University of Samoa’s Journalism Program has produced over 100 graduates since its inception but a lot of work still needs to be done.

The NUS Head of Media and Communication Department, Misa Vicky Lepou, told the Samoa Observer in an interview that she remains optimistic about the future despite a drop in student numbers.

She said raising the entre requirements for the study program was a major challenge for the department, but it had to be done in order to get the best to enroll. 

“Media’s have been telling us they have not been getting qualified students and so we had to find a way to make sure that we had qualified journalists and this was one the way, raising the entry criteria,” she said. 

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As part of the changes undertaken by the university, a review was done of the journalism diploma program, and it was concluded that a University Preparatory Year (UPY) certificate or diploma in journalism should be the minimum entry requirement to progress to degree studies. 

“In the past, even though we had huge numbers of students, it was too high for them to go straight into diploma and the failure rates were unbelievable. We would have 20-30 students but only five to six graduated,” she said.

But with the new entry criteria, the challenges are faced head on in the university as the number of registered students dropped. 

According to Ms. Lepou, her plans to promote journalism scholarships funded by donors, undertake school road-shows and do student internships at media organisations such as TV1 and Samoa Observer will continue. There will also be internships to the Auckland-based Pacific Corporation Foundation for students. 

“There are a lot of opportunities in the journalism field but we cannot exist alone without the industry to promote the degree we have now, to have more students,” she added.

Ms. Lepou said she is grateful for another year to provide career pathways for future journalists, but also the assistance of donors in providing the resources to accommodate the students they have now. 

“We had started with the certificate programme, then diploma and now we have advanced to degree level. I am proud to say that we have produced over 100 students ever since the establishment of the program” she added. 

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