World News Day: Fiji Sun Presents Rachna Lal

The career path taken by Rachna Lal since her early days as a business editor in the Fiji Sun newsroom is inspiring for young journalists. She’s shown that if you
19 Sep 2020 13:38
World News Day: Fiji Sun Presents Rachna Lal

The career path taken by Rachna Lal since her early days as a business editor in the Fiji Sun newsroom is inspiring for young journalists.

She’s shown that if you have the right experience and credentials, then you’re not limited to the four walls of the newsroom.

The newspaper business can be a complicated one. There are many different parts working separately, but in tandem to produce your daily dose of news.

Gaining experience in more than one department is useful for one’s own personal professional development.

Ms Lal has certainly paved the way for that. She is married to Rahul and they have a daughter.

Tell us about your career at the Fiji Sun?

I started working at the Fiji Sun in July 2011 as the Business Editor. I was recruited by our Publisher/CEO Peter Lomas in order to build our business news section which had a lot of potential, but was not being realised.

Soon after, I was promoted to Managing Editor Business. It took me five years to build the business section and then it was time to move on.

In 2017, I was promoted to head the advertising department in order to build our revenue further.

By this time, I had completed my Masters in Business Administration at the University of the South Pacific and was ready to take on a bigger role as Manager Advertising and Business Development until today.

Why do you do what you do?

I am not someone who wants to be stuck to a desk job all day long. I love travelling and meeting people. I love challenges and my job at the Fiji Sun is exactly that. No two days are ever the same and it is surely not a desk job.

It involves a lot of interaction with clients, deadline pressures and creative thinking to generate revenue.

I am able to use my knowledge from being a journalist to translate it into revenue generation in the advertising section.

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

Working in a daily newspaper means daily deadlines. Advertisements need to be sold daily for the next day and stories need to be written daily.

You cannot put off your work to a week or even a few days. So the deadline pressures are quite tough.

Over the years, I have learned to handle daily pressure at work and from outside in a calm and collected manner. The deadline pressures can get to anyone and- mistakes are mostly made when one is working under pressure.

I usually focus only on the work I have to do and set my own deadlines ahead of the actual deadline so I am able to do things in advance.

With practice, it gets easier. As long as I remain calm and collected, meeting deadlines is not a worry.

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

  • Getting people to take you seriously – When I joined the business news section it was definitely not one where articles were collated seriously so getting the business community to take me seriously was a challenge. It took some time and hard work before I was able to get the confidence of the business community and become known to be a worthy business journalist. Following this, I was also able to get inside and exclusive stories in business as well.
  • Being judged for working late – Working as a journalist is not a 8am to 5pm job and there were many days where I had to work late and long hours. This also included attending events at night and coming back to write the article for publication the next day. We live in a society where if a female works late, then her character is judged and this happened to me as well. But I overcame this with my continued persistence to grow and progress in my career and by not paying any attention to such things.

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

I took business news coverage to a whole new level at the Fiji Sun by creating a 16-page Business News lift-out every Saturday.

This became a much popular publication in the Fiji Sun and till date, it is the ONLY such publication in any Pacific daily newspaper. It became a must-read for the business community and did not only include news, but also included contributions from columnists, some of whom are international trainers.

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

  • 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

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