World News Day: Fiji Sun Presents Susana Hirst-Tuilau

"I believe no one should be left behind as everyone deserves the right to information."
06 Sep 2020 12:30
World News Day: Fiji Sun Presents Susana Hirst-Tuilau
Senior journalist Suncoast, Susana Hirst-Tuilau.

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.

Meet Susana Hirst-Tuilau, senior journalist Suncoast for the Fiji Sun.

Susana Hirst-Tuilau joined the Fiji Sun newsroom determined to make her mark in journalism.

She had been studying journalism but lost her baby brother and “my whole world came crushing down”. Now she pushed herself to learn and draw from her more experienced colleagues.

Her years of experience in the tourism sector was a bonus – more so recently when the Lets Go Local campaign was launched by Sun Business.

Ms Hirst-Tuilau is now based in Rakiraki and covers the Suncoast. But she does more than just chase stories – she’s an entrepreneur and organiser of the monthly Rakiraki market day.

When did you start working in a newsroom?

Started in the Fiji Sun Suva newsroon in January 2019.

Why do you do what you do?

I believe no one should be left behind as everyone deserves the right to information.

I had always wanted to be a journalist as I loved writing and talking to people.

Unfortunately, on the day of my first exam at USP, I lost my baby brother at six months and my whole world came crashing down. I have since being able to pick myself up. I did a few jobs that involved training and management but always thought of continuing my studies in journalism.

A couple of years ago, I was at my lowest and was very depressed. Scrolling on Facebook I saw a post from the Fiji Sun of a vacancy that was available at the paper.

I clicked on the button and it is one of the best decisions I made. I am so fortunate to have had such a renowned media outlet pick me to work for them.

I started on the Sub-Editors desk where I quickly learnt so much from people who I now consider my family. Then I was transferred to the Publications Department and was slowly introduced to writing and reporting.

Soon as I got comfortable, I was transferred to our Business Department where things were so corporate and my kind of niche.

I now work in Rakiraki where I cover community news, business and sports. I have continued with them because of people like Caroline, Karalaini, Jane, Ranoba, Jyoti, Fonua and Rosi to name a few.

They will go out of their way to help anyone who needs it. A great example of the sisterhood pack.

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

Meeting deadlines teaches me to better use my time. I perform better under pressure.

When you have to put a story together it takes a lot out of you. Both physically and mentally. It builds excitement especially when you have people constantly calling and yelling making sure you make it to the finish line.

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

Apart from the office politics my main challenges are working from a remote area. I don’t have the privileges I had when I was working in Suva.

There are times when I can’t get a comment or can’t get to the place or there are two events to cover at once.

The one I can’t manage is on the days I work there is hardly any news and on my days off there is so much to report on.

Recently, I have been working everyday so that I don’t miss anything.

People in Rakiraki and Tavua are also helpful and always call me up about news worthy events happening around the area.

The Fiji Sun network has grown and they love seeing their little towns being put on the map.

Two pieces of work that you did that brought about change in policy, community/ or in behaviour?

A good friend of mine told me about a young man who just got out of prison and is now able to help his community by providing employment to the youths in his area.

The young man was very reluctant as it was a very sensitive issue for him.

When he finally agreed, the story was soon published and I received emails from a few people overseas who wanted to help the young man.

Now he is in a much better place.

A similar one was for a school that had built a computer lab and were still looking for donors. Emails flooded my inbox as people sent messages seeking their contact to help buy them new computers.

  • 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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