World News Day: Fiji Sun Presents Salote Qalubau

The most challenging period was when I was a young reporter years ago covering sedition cases and would get insults from family members of the accused or when people tried to stop us from taking pictures. We couldn’t afford to be scared to take photos...’
18 Sep 2020 09:03
World News Day: Fiji Sun Presents Salote Qalubau
Fiji Sun Lautoka Bureau journalist Salote Qalubau.

Like most young female journalists on the beat, SALOTE QALUBAU gets hurled insults and sexist comments while doing her job.

She is based in our Lautoka Bureau.

The remarks can be demotivating. But she’s learned early on to keep her head up and simply do her job.

When Lautoka was under lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 in March, Ms Qalubau was presented with challenges she had never faced before in her six-year journalism career.

Her own protection and security became a priority over the haste to get news – including interviews from frontliners and recovered COVID-19 patients.

Ms Qalubau holds a Certificate in Media and Journalism from the Fiji National University, Diploma in Pacific Journalism from the University of the South Pacific and will be completing her Bachelor of Arts Degree with Double Majors in Journalism and Psychology from the University of the South Pacific at the end of this year.

When you started working in a newsroom:

I started working for Fiji Sun in 2015 when I was 22 years old just straight out of community media because I initially worked at a community newspaper called the Jet Newspaper in Nadi just to get a feel for the media but choosing to work for Fiji Sun really opened my eyes to what it was like in mainstream media and I am grateful that they helped me discover my potential and develop further.

Why you do what you do?

I’ve always wanted to be a journalist from when I was younger after seeing people like Tukaha Mua on Fiji One. I always loved English and writing when I was in primary and secondary school but as I grew older I realized my true passion was in Journalism and once that was set in my mind ,nothing anyone said could stop me from going for my dream career.

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

I make a point to write a ‘to do’ list each day and ensure that I complete them, I have been doing this since my early years in university to keep track of tasks that I have completed and those that are pending but if I don’t complete certain tasks I make sure to add them onto my list the next day .

Pressures can be hectic but when you’ve got a good team and great superiors, work doesn’t seem so stressful because I’m doing something I love and at the end of the day I know Im putting food on the table for my family.

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

Sometimes when covering controversial court cases, we often get insults hurled at us or sexist remarks during sports matches, especially if you’re a woman covering a sports match but you just have to remind yourself that you are simply doing your job.

The most challenging period was when I was a young reporter years ago covering sedition cases and would get insults from family members of the accused or when people tried to stop us from taking pictures. We couldn’t afford to be scared to take photos especially if questions will be asked by your superiors as to why you did not get the picture, so yes definitely I was pushed beyond my comfort zone but I don’t regret it one bit because it made me stronger and not to take personal insults to heart.

Another challenge was continuing to work when my father suddenly passed away in 2015. This motivated me to want to further my qualification and not just remain a trainee journalist but to upgrade my skills academically. I don’t believe I would have been able to achieve all that I have had it not been for my mother, supportive uncles, aunts and cousins who stepped in to look after my family after my father passed away, for that Im so grateful. I also plan to further upgrade my qualification in the future through God’s grace and protection.

Please highlight at least 2 pieces of work that you did that brought about change in policy, community/ or in behaviour?

James-bachiu-childrens-duty-to-take-care-of-parents. The article was regarding a man living at the Natabua Golden Age Home in Lautoka and had been homeless for 8 weeks due to a disagreement with his family. After the article was published many of the man’s friends and family members requested for his contact because they were unaware of his struggle. It also shed a light on how parents are cast aside by their families when they get older.

Lautoka resident claims home attacked by robbers. The article was about a number of homes in the Lovu, settlement, Lautoka that were being targeted by a group of teenage boys robbing houses at night. The Acting Divisional Police Commander Senior Superintendent of Police Pita Keni personally visited the home of the complainant and is working towards the formation of a crime prevention committee in the area.

iTaukei children top numbers in Saint Tabitha home. For this specific article it brought the focus on the issue of children from broken families who were taken in by the home and most of them were iTaukei or some children came from big families and their parents couldn’t cater for all the children so they ended up sending them to the home but would frequently check on their children to ensure they were attending school. The positive side of the story was that there were children who later moved out and were being educated abroad, this showed what children can achieve when they are shown compassion and are encouraged.

Mason urges men to support wives during cancer diagnosis. This article was about how certain men often abandoned their spouses when they found out that they had serious illnesses like cancer. The quote that stood out to me in the story was:
“It’s not the end of the road because this is what you agree to when you say “I do”. It’s for better or worse not just being there during the good times so you need to be there for your wife no matter what.”

The perspective was from a man urging other husbands to stand by their wives who were undergoing cancer treatment and provide them the moral support they need.

Screenshot 2020-09-03 at 11.46.40 AM

  • 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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