Young reporters speak up on challenges

Young reporters have spoken of the challenges that they face on the frontlines while gathering stories for their employers.

The two reporters, who work for the Government-owned Savali newspaper and TV1 Samoa, recalled being called names, looked down upon and turned away by people refusing to do interviews due to the reporters’ age and appearance.

A reporter with the Savali newspaper, Yumi Epati Tala'ave, recalled being called names when trying to interview people for a story on women.

"The challenging part for us is to be called names while we are doing our job. I remember one time when I was interviewing a man for the ‘your say’ section of our paper and I didn't know he was this woman's husband,” she said. 

"This Chinese girl has been roaming around gossiping – to me this statement was pretty discouraging for me and I felt like giving up.

“However I know that I wasn't going to let this get to me and my work.”

Another reporter Elvin Sarasopa, who works for TV1 Samoa, shared her experience on how she was called names by former Cabinet Ministers. 

"I support what has been shared and honestly speaking when the former Minister, I was discouraged from going to work,” she said.

“She even questioned my abilities on whether I actually fit in the newsroom, but my father who was always my motivator advised me that I chose this career (media) pathway so I had to deal with it head on and so I did."

Some of the barriers that were raised by the reporters were cultural barriers as they believe that Samoan culture can interfere with their roles as journalists. 

Also members of the public found it easier to verbally abuse and mistreat the young journalists due to their body size and age.

Samoa Global News editor, Tuiloma Sina Retzlaff, believes that these issues can be addressed if senior members of the media – no matter what media industry platform – help each other.

"The issues raised by the young ones or our children in our media family are very important,” she said.

“We need to address this because we have been very busy with the political crisis that has been going on for some time now that we forget to help and nurture our young ones.

“I think what we should do is if you go to an item and we see these young faces, take some time to sit down with them and help them. 

“Just put your work away for a while and help develop them.”

Maina Misa Papalii of Nofoilo Samoa as well as the President of the Journalists Association of Western Samoa (J.A.W.S) supported the idea raised by Tuiloma and agreed it should be considered. 

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