Tuvalu News

UQ Journalism links with the Tuvalu

July 31, 2008

Anyone with internet access knows the website extensions .com, .org and .net. They may have even come across the increasingly popular .tv.

But what many people don't know is .tv refers to the tiny, remote Pacific country of Tuvalu, which has an unexpected link to The University of Queensland's School of Journalism and Communication.

Opetaia Simati, the man behind the world's only Tuvalu-based .tv site, recently visited UQ Journalism, as a guest of his friend and collaborator, lecturer Dr Mark Hayes.

"Opet's no stranger to us at UQ Journalism," Dr Hayes said.

"In early 2006, we did the world's first live web TV broadcast from Tuvalu into a first year journalism course lecture, and Opet was central to that being a spectacular success.

“We did a live webcam cross to Tuvalu's capital atoll, Funafuti, in early October, 2007, and Opet spoke about our late mutual friend and collaborator, Lomi Paeniu, whose memorial website some UQ PR students had developed and launched.”

When Dr Hayes returned to Tuvalu for his fourth visit in January this year, UQ Journalism donated resources and surplus equipment that are now being used by the country's only radio station.

Dr Hayes also had a chapter on Tuvaluan journalism published in a reader on South Pacific Islands Communications launched in Manila at a major Asian media conference recently.

“IT, and journalists' uses of IT are central to our course,” Dr Hayes said.

“We also have a very active interest in the Pacific and how journalism is done there, so Tuvalu is central to so many facets of what we teach, research, and contribute to when we can.

Mr Simati said the internet and support of UQ Journalism was helping Tuvaluan news reach the rest of the world.

“"Dr Maleko (Dr Hayes's Tuvaluan name) really helps our ‘Tino Tusitala' (journalists),” Mr Simati said.

“My office helps keep them in contact and get their stories out beyond Tuvalu."

Dr Hayes hoped Mr Simati's visit would help strengthen the Tuvaluan journalism industry.

“It was wonderful to have Opet visit with us and have a good look around,” he said.

“He'll return home with an even better idea of who we are and what we do, so we can collaborate even more closely in the future.”

MEDIA: Dr Hayes (07 3346 9430) or Tegan Taylor at UQ Communications (07 3365 2659).

Source: UQ News Online

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