OPINION: Encouraging our young people to a career in journalism

Trying to figure out what you want to do when you leave high school is a tough decision for many young people.

I think it’s an even tougher role trying to convince eleven and twelve-year-old high school students that they should aim for a career in journalism or working in the media industry.

This is human rights awareness week at Niue High School and it should be reminded that article nineteen of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) recognises ones right to freedom of opinion and expression and the right to receive and impart information and ideas through the media.

BCN spends an hour every two weeks this school term speaking to the students about what it’s like to work in broadcasting and working in mainstream media like radio, television, online, and on social media.

Earlier this week, we asked four year nine students to be reporters for an hour, reporting on the schools anti-bullying banner competitions. These eleven-year olds did not disappoint, in fact they did very well indeed that here is hoping we have planted a seed in at least one of two of these students to aim for a career in journalism or broadcasting.

Working in this industry in a small community is not a very attractive career choice for the local young people which is why BCN has been recruiting our staff from Fiji.

It certainly doesn’t help when the national broadcaster BCN is constantly accused of fake news and making stories up by critics on social media while enjoying the freedom to read our stories for free.

If we want our young people to become reporters and journalists then we need to encourage them by not trashing the work that journalists do.

It’s understandable that very few if any at all will want a career where they are exposed to daily criticism just for doing their job.

Journalists won’t always get it right and we will be the first to correct it if that is the case, but we abide by professional standards to ensure that your right to information is available.

As for the year nine students we spent an hour with this week, I can tell that some of them will be journalists one day, but I hope that we as a community will be a bit more encouraging.

The reality is that it is much harder to be a journalist these days when social media is always on 24/7 and small broadcasters like BCN cannot compete with that.

We as a community just need to be more supportive of the media that provides for your rights and freedoms to receive and impart information, so that you too, can enjoy your right and freedom to express your opinions.

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