First In Pacific: Fiji Sun Steps Ahead In Training, Development

Fiji Sun has become the first from the Pacific to win a place in the international News and Business Transformation Asia (NBTA) programme.
15 Aug 2021 13:14
First In Pacific: Fiji Sun Steps Ahead In Training, Development
The Fiji Sun team in the News and Business Transformation Asia (NBTA) programme (from left): Ranoba Baoa, Rachna Lal, Rosi Doviverata, Fernando Lobendahn. Photo: Leon Lord

Simply, the trailblazer in Pacific Islands news development and recognition.

That’s the Fiji Sun, publisher of the biggest newspaper in the Pacific Islands, Fiji Sun Weekend.

Two new projects are examples.


Fiji Sun has become the first from the Pacific to win a place in the international News and Business Transformation Asia (NBTA) programme.

Fiji Sun was one of six news media companies to be selected in a competitive process for this year’s launch. The place was won in highly competitive competition with news companies across Asia.

The programme is run by the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) in partnership with Facebook.

It runs for six months and is designed to help news publishers build and grow their digital readership and revenue amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fiji Sun was selected along with BeritaSatu (Indonesia), Kompas (Indonesia), Maeil Business Newspaper (South Korea), SunStar Publishing (Philippines) and The Dong-a Ilbo (South Korea).

Fiji Sun’s participation is led by Managing Editor Digital and Readership Development Rosi Doviiverata and Advertising and Business Development Manager Rachna Lal. They are supported by Managing Editor Production Ranoba Baoa and Digital Business Development Manager Fernando Lobendahn.

Fiji Sun Publisher/CEO Peter Lomas said: “The pandemic has turned the world of news publishing upside down. Nobody in news publishing is immune from the need for change.

“This programme is designed to equip our team with the insights, know-how, and tools to help execute our transformation and the strategy we must adopt.”

The World Association of News Publishers trainers mentoring the Fiji Sun team are two world leaders in developing this:

# Gregor Waller, who provides consulting services to international media businesses for developing their digital strategy and transforming their business models for the digital era.

He comes from a background in management with major German news publishers, including Axel Springer and the WELT group’s Berliner Morgenpost and Hamburger Abendblatt and at Zeitungsgruppe Hamburg.

After testing a “prototype tablet” with his core newspaper readers – one year before the iPad – he focused on the topics of digital strategy, digital business models and paid content.

# Veteran British journalist George Brock, former managing editor of The Times of London, former head of the City University of London’s journalism school, and former president of the World Editors Forum.

He now advises journalism research projects and startups in news. He is on the board of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. He is the author of the book Out of Print: Newspapers, Journalism and the Business of News in the Digital Age.

The programme covers strategic thinking, planning and implementation, rebalancing print advertising and reader revenue, creating new audiences and retaining existing ones with new products, content, features and services, pricing, marketing and building data capabilities.

These projects will be framed to produce an actionable plan to deal with a go-live challenge at participants’ companies. A US$10,000 grant from Facebook supports each plan.

Anjali Kapoor, Director of News Partnerships, Facebook Asia Pacific said their partnership with WAN-IFRA is an important part of their commitment to support the region’s news industry, build sustainable business growth and engaging content that serves and informs our region.

“Reader revenue is a cornerstone of sustainable digital news models. We hope the Newsroom and Business Transformation APAC programme will help accelerate the transformation process and equip media companies with the skills needed to survive the disruption to the traditional media business,” said Thomas Jacob, COO of WAN-IFRA.


Fiji Sun has become the first news publisher in the Pacific to undertake training run by the Dart Centre on managing trauma and stress. The Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma is a global project of one of the world’s leading journalism schools, Columbia University, New York.

The opportunity for continuous training by the Dart Centre emerged after Fiji Sun editors and journalists took part in a World Association of News Publishers workshop on Building a Resilient Newsroom.

This was followed by two consecutive sessions with Fiji Sun senior managers.

Over the next month Fiji Sun editors, managers and journalists will take part in a training programme. This is under the guidance of registered psychologist and founding managing director of Dart Centre, Cait McMahon, and Kimina Lyall, a former journalist with The Australian, who has covered a series of major events involving trauma. These include Australia’s biggest modern day mass murder and the devastating Asian tsunami.

Fiji Sun journalists, editors and sub-editors across the four bureaus will undergo specialised training.

Our Human Resources Officer Timaima Nakauyaca is our internal coordinator.

Given Fiji’s current COVID-19 status and upcoming cyclone season, the sessions will better prepare the newsroom to handle trauma and stress.

Fiji Sun Publisher/CEO Peter Lomas said: “Our journalists regularly go into situations involving trauma and tragedy. For example, they are amongst the first to arrive after devastating cyclones hit communities. Right now they are daily dealing with the tragedy of the pandemic.

“The Dart Centre advocates ethical and thorough reporting of trauma; compassionate, professional treatment of victims and survivors by journalists; and greater awareness by media organisations of the impact of trauma coverage on journalists.

“We’re proud to be a Pacific Islands leader in this.”

Feedback: sokov@fijisun.com.fj

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