The State of the Pacific is an annual conference convened at the Australian National University. This year’s program featured a session bringing together Pacific specialists – reporters and editors from inside the region, and Australian-based correspondents – to discuss the state of media in the Pacific.
CAJ lecturer and editor of The Citizen, Jo Chandler, who in her freelance work has a strong and continuing focus on Pacific reporting, was part of the discussion, joining Stefan Armbruster (Brisbane-based Pacific correspondent for SBS), Dan Flitton (managing editor, The Interpreter, Lowy Institute), Jemima Garrett (Sydney-based freelance journalist and former ABC Pacific reporter), Dan McGarry (media director, Vanuatu Daily Post) and Elvina Ogil, host of Who Asked Her, Papua New Guinea’s first feminist podcast.
At this session, Australian-based journalists discuss the challenge of securing support for Pacific stories from their editors, and the related problem of building greater knowledge of the Pacific among the Australian public. Pacific-based journalists give insight into some of the challenges posed by in country reporting, from censorship to the global shift away from traditional media to digital content.
What opportunities do these changes open up for the Pacific to be reported on its own terms? The session will also explore how the media is increasingly seen as a component of soft power and public diplomacy, and whether such government-backed efforts are likely to be effective.
Chair: Graeme Smith, Fellow, Department of Pacific Affairs, ANU