Senior Samoa Observer journalist embarks on tour of U.S.

Samoa Observer senior journalist, Lanuola T. Tupufia – Ah Tong, is on her way to the United States, via Hawaii.

She has been selected for the 2019 Pacific Island Journalism Reporting Tour beginning this week. 

She will join twelve of the Pacific's top journalists on a three week study and reporting tour that begins in Honolulu, Hawaii and continues through several major American cities.

The journalists will meet leading global experts to discuss major issues facing the Pacific Islands. The programme will focus on the environment, security, infrastructure development and financing. 

Participants will also receive training in the latest digital journalism technology, the best practice use of social media, newsroom operations and data journalism. 

The tour begins  at the East-West Center in Honolulu and will then continue to Washington, D.C., San Francisco, California and Galveston Texas

Mrs. Ah Tong will present on issues relating to development and foreign indebtedness and their rippling effect across Samoa’s economy and its future as a player in the region. 

In addition to taking part in panels, sharing perspectives from their respective countries, the journalists will engage with environmental, security, infrastructure, and sustainability experts about the Pacific Islands region. 

In Washington, D.C., participants will meet with top Government officials, including from the State Department, the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development and a variety of prominent think tanks and civil society organisations. 

The programme will expose journalists to cutting edge information about infrastructure financing and develop contacts and global experts to inform their future reporting. 

The city of Galveston, which was devastated by Hurricane Ike in 2008, has emerged as a model for public-private cooperative partnerships and community rebuilding efforts. 

The need for the development of resilient infrastructure in cities vulnerable to natural disaster shocks makes it an ideal location to learn about alternative development models for the region. 

In San Francisco and nearby Silicon Valley and San Jose, the journalists will visit Google, Facebook, news organisations and university journalism programs to receive training in new media journalism tools. 

At the conclusion of the reporting tour, the East-West Center will hold a capstone event in Suva, Fiji where journalists will share best practices, lessons learned with the broader Fijian and Pacific Islands media community. 

The tour is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State.

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