Feature

World News Day: Fiji Sun Presents Shratika Naidu

‘Some judge the way I look and curse me when I wear the Fiji Sun uniform. But I humbly approach them and make my request known in the iTaukei language. This instantly change their hearts and they go out of their way to assist me with information.’
02 Sep 2020 13:12
World News Day: Fiji Sun Presents Shratika Naidu
Fiji Sun North Editor Shratika Naidu at work in Labasa.

In the lead up to World News Day on September 28, we will be featuring some of the key people in the Fiji Sun newsroom.

Most readers only know them by their bylines.

But who are these people who work odd hours and put up with both internal deadline pressures and those thrown at them by social media critics?

SHRATIKA NAIDU is one.

Working in Labasa has its unique challenges.

And for Labasa born and bred, Shratika Naidu, the opportunity to showcase and highlight issues affecting the Northern Division surpasses the daily grind.

Ms Naidu is Fiji Sun’s North Editor. She is also responsible for the operation of the North Bureau office with three staff members.

The 33-year-old completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science at the Fergusson College and Diploma in International Relations, Human Rights and Role of International Law at Abeda Inamdar Senior College of Arts, Science and Commerce affiliated with Savitribai Phule Pune University, India in 2015.

Always eager to learn, she enrolled at the University of the South Pacific Labasa Campus in 2018 and completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Business Administration Human Resource Management.

The following year she completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration General Managers.

Ms Naidu is married to Ravinesh Singh, a nurse, and they have a one-year-old son, Riaan.

1. When did you start working in a newsroom?

I started working in our Labasa office in August, 2009. I joined the mainstream media by the grace of God and all that I have achieved today is because of him.

2. Why do you do what you do?

It’s not because of the good pay, but the opportunity to serve the people of the Northern Division.

I enjoy the challenge of doing everything on my own – from taking photos, videos and doing my write-ups. I get to cover a whole range of areas from sports, court, Police, business and community programmes.

I also enjoy working with my colleagues – especially the news team because we are all on the same page and always support each other both in good and bad times. The company is more like family to me.

3. How do you put up with deadline pressures at work and from outside?

I always remind myself that I work for the people of Fiji, and they need to know what is happening on the ground here in the North.

Our readers can only get access to information if deadlines are met.

Over the years I’ve mastered the art of staying calm so that I can think and write. This is despite being criticised in the field of work and on social media.

4. In your journalism career, what are some of the challenges you’ve faced and how were these addressed?

Being a female, especially an Indo-Fijian, men especially those holding higher positions in villages and settlements have always looked down on me.

Some judge the way I look and curse me when I wear the Fiji Sun uniform.

But I humbly approach them and make my request known in the iTaukei language. This instantly changes their hearts, and they go out of their way to assist me with information.

There have been times where ministers and lawyers publically insulted me for bothering them with emails and phone calls for interviews. I never respond to them with anger.

Instead, I wait silently for a few days and then write my story stating their action such as refusing to give comments. Immediately after reading articles they return to me with their answers and this has made them realise that we mean business – keeping the nation informed.

As a mother and a wife, my relatives often criticise me for working late hours and extra days.

Thanks to my wonderful colleagues and editors like Jyoti, Rosi, Ranoba, Leone, Ronald and Caroline, they understand my situation and take out time to assist whenever I needed their help. Hence, I am able to balance my family life and work.

5. Highlight at least two pieces of work that you did that brought about change in policy, community/ or in behaviour:

  • Recently a preschool teacher committed suicide at Valelawa Primary School in Macuata Province.

I managed to talk to the school and found out the root cause of the problem. After some research, I found out that teachers found it difficult to discuss their problems.

Then I wrote an article to highlight that help is available within the ministry and other organisations.

A few days later, I was informed by the ministry that they were working on increasing professional counsellors in the four divisions.

Before the end of this year, the counselors will be assigned. Moreover, Life Line Fiji after reading my article conducted a workshop on suicide with the Northern Police Force to raise awareness.

Through two articles organisations like Ministry of Education, Life Line Fiji and Fiji Police Force are beefing up their efforts to help curb suicide cases.

  • Over the years, I’ve found that through my articles – those who suffered at the hands of medical professionals have received justice.

Some had lost their loved ones, while others have undergone incorrect medical procedures or were mistreated by medical staff at some health centres and hospitals.

Because of our numerous stories, the Ministry has taken measures to control the behaviour of staff and provide quality service.

Now when people complain about poor service delivery at health centres or hospitals, I liaise directly with the medical superintendent, permanent secretary or minister. They immediately try to assist the complainant or the patient.

  • World News Day aims to raise public awareness of the critical role that journalists play in providing credible and reliable news, to help people make sense of — and improve — the rapidly changing world around them.

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj



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