World News Day: Fiji Sun Presents Maraia Vula

Many of you know of Maraia Vula in the business circle. She is one of the first Fiji Sun editors to be called regarding all things business.
03 Sep 2020 11:47
World News Day: Fiji Sun Presents Maraia Vula
Managing Editor Business Maraia Vula at the Vatukoula Gold Mines Limited Smith Shaft, in Tavua, section on August 26, 2020.

Many of you know of Maraia Vula in the business circle. She is one of the first Fiji Sun editors to be called regarding all things business.

Many of you know of the stories, features, and efforts she’s made so you can get firsthand business news.

But for many, who know her, Maraia means business. And our Managing Editor – Business has come a long way from being a business reporter at our former office in Walu Bay in 2013 to heading our business department.

In 2014, the Nukuloa, Gau, writer had a stint as Acting Editor North making an impact there.

This would be the beginning of her leadership role.

Her return to the Suva headquarters saw her taking charge of the engine room – the subeditor’s desk/department.

She also looked after a special project in 2017 where the Fiji Sun produced the biggest weekend newspaper boasting up to more than 200 pages.

She then moved to head the business department where she is managing – seven-days-a-week (even on her days off) a dedicated team of three.

They cover business from the stock market, commodity prices, aviation, agriculture, tourism, and overall locally and international news that impact Fiji, Fijians and the economy.

She is a Management and Public Administration and Journalism degree graduate from the University of the South Pacific.

She is currently pursuing her Executive Masters in Business Administration at the Fiji National University.

1. When did you start working in a newsroom?

Mid 2013. As a graduate from USP. It was a completely different atmosphere altogether to what I was told reporters would do in a newsroom.

I say different because when I started in the business news department under the leadership of the then Managing Editor Business Rachna Lal we were basically trained to multitask from day one to meet the strict deadlines.

From fieldwork reporting, transcribing (while you’re on your way back to the office in the transport), editing, laying out pages and getting materials for the 16-page Saturday business lift-out.

2. Why do you do what you do?

I am passionate about my work. I love it. We are a people’s paper. We are all about development. Informing people of the business news. Everything from reporting for the C-suite to helping people start their business through the experiences of others is what this newspaper is all about.

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

When I entered this field and organisation I was told on the first day about time management, meeting deadlines, working flexible hours, working on my day off (sometimes), going out to report on news, transcribing, editing and basically putting/laying it out on the page.

For me, it was a humbling and interesting experience. I got to learn different things. From time and people management, accounting, agriculture, insurance broking, the stock exchange, aviation, technology (including keeping up to pace with software updates) tourism and hospitality, coffee shops, seaweed farming to collecting used items to make recyclable goods for the market day etc. All this and more is all in my line of work which is interesting and requires a lot of planning.

I’m also proud to be part of one news organisation in Fiji which invests constantly in training and development and encourages further education for its journalists.

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

The biggest one was the reluctance of many business leaders to talk with journalists. A lot of them have bad experiences with reporters who really don’t understand business or care about the impact of what they report.

You overcome this by building the trust and confidence of business leaders, the c-suite. You do this by making sure you understand and care about what you are reporting about and do it fairly and accurately. You show you have no agenda.

At the Fiji Sun we have a very strong culture of commitment to serious business and finance journalism. It starts from the top. Our Publisher is a former business journalist and editor.

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

Let me give two recent examples from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Firstly, I’d like to highlight the mining industry. Building awareness of its potential as a force for good in these tough COVID-19 times with tourism decimated.

Mining’s a resilient industry that is offering and currently employing people throughout the year, even offering scholarships to students from provinces they operate from. It is one of those industries not always highlighted positively by some media which in turn creates a lot of negative perception towards mining companies. Yet, as we are seeing now, mining can bring both more jobs for people and more revenue for our country.

Chinese companies are investing millions of dollars developing the Vatukoula and the Ba River Delta projects. They are bringing investment and expertise and creating local employment.

Canadian companies are moving ahead with Lion One at Tuvatu (gold) and Thunderstruck in Liwa Creek (gold) and Korokayiu (zinc/copper).

There is a lot of renewed interest now in Mount Kasi. Namosi is potentially huge – even if it might be a political minefield with environmental activists stirring the landowners.

We’ve always covered mining seriously. Right now we’re working to help build awareness of the potential it brings in diversifying the economy amidst the lessons from the pandemic.

It’s working. It’s good to see some other news media are now looking at mining properly. Finally.

Second. Again another recent one with COVID-19. We started a Let’s Go Local campaign. This is supporting Tourism Fiji’s Love Our Locals campaign.

The aim of this page is showing locals how they can get out and enjoy what has brought people from all over the world to Fiji. At the same time, they help the economy and get tourism workers back into jobs.

We highlight local specials and encourage people to make use of them. That in turn enables tourism properties and businesses to provide work to their people.

There are some great innovations out there. Savusavu Tourism Association, for example, has been working with Fiji Link. They encourage people from Viti Levu to go overseas – to Savusavu. It’s been a big success.

Volivoli Beach Resort up on the Suncoast has a two for the price of one special to encourage couples to learn diving together,

All over the country, there are interesting initiatives. We’ve highlighted what’s on offer through stories and photos. Places like Pacific Harbour, the Coral Coast, the Mamanucas, Suncoast, Savusavu. A lot of places are now alive Friday to Monday.

And more tourism workers who faced job losses at least have some work.

We’ve received strong positive feedback and thanks for our efforts. It’s a good example of how the news media can step in a positive way..

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

 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. 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.

Screenshot 2020-09-03 at 11.46.40 AM

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

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