Zoom Connects Sunday Isles Journalists Amid PandemicOctober 21, 2020
BY MIKE TUA
THE COVID-19 global pandemic has allowed Solomon Islands including regional aspiring and experienced journalists to connect using the ‘Zoom’ – an online platform for this year’s Pacific Islands Climate Outlook Forum virtual media workshop.
The four-day virtual workshop program comprised of series of media sessions aimed to build reporters knowledge base about the emerging effects of climate change, and fundamental policies impacting the Pacific region. The program which started on Tuesday 20 October is expected to end on Friday 24 October.
Sunday Isles Weekly Newspaper Tourism reporter, Tavake Simon Hana’aroa and Senior reporter, Alex Junior Dadamu have been fulfilling their working time during the global pandemic for the first time to join the sessions in an up-close view face with workshop facilitators and media representatives from Palau, PNG, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands.
Both reporters explained they are thrilled to connect with other journalists from around the region to discuss and share insights on climate change or environmental problems impacting the Pacific region.
“Well, I can say that though the network connection from my end is not cooperating well; I’m very excited to join this zoom session with my fellow journalists around the region,” said Simon.
He described the virtual media workshop as new way forward in broadening his capacity to report on relevant issues related to climate change.
“The virtual workshop has given me insights and an overview of what is climate and weather – how we can differentiate, and climate variability and climate change. But above all, this session helps us journalists from across the region to get a glimpse of the weather and climate, and how we can inform and educate our audience/ readers with rightful information obtain from the right people.”
Sunday Isles Senior Reporter, Dadamu also expressed his excitement to join with other media regional colleagues’ through the virtual workshop and to learn topics such “Building Block – Our Stories” and “Reaching Pacific Audiences during the Cyclone Season.”
“It is an honour to listen to trainers and mentors from ABC International Development and SPREP – and also the Pacific Meteorology Desk for providing and support us with valuable information(s), presentations about climate and weather patterns – for reporters to be able to report accurately on the subjects.
“The first 2 days of the Media Workshop Programs gave me the insights and essential knowledge required base on climate change and on how to develop accurate and factual stories for public consumption,” he added.
Sunday Isles is a weekly newspaper with news story contents accessible to readers on five specific online media platforms i.e. available on the websites and Facebook links) – Here are the available websites addresses:www.environmentmediasolomonislands.com,www.sportsmediasolomonislands.com,www.tourismmediasolomonislands.com, www.womensmediasolomonislands.com, and www.sundayislessolomonislands.com.
The virtual workshop means everything was done online through Zoom; whilst every facilitators, participants, trainers, mentors are based in their respective countries and office spaces; after the workshop reporters will be able to use their acquired knowledge from the series of media sessions to develop news angles and stories for their respective local audiences.
Simon explained that given the importance of ‘Zoom’ as a platform in such a pandemic and it’s as an eye-opener and opportunity for masses of local media practitioners in the country.
“With travel restrictions worldwide, meetings and workshops had been cut off. We have Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms that we can connect through in such times as this. However, the virtual meeting platform known as Zoom is more genuine and efficient and is easy to use especial in virtual sessions.
“It has its inbuilt options that users would switch to and it makes the meeting more realistic as in a real (physical) meetings. I therefore say Zoom is suitably developed for events such as disasters including pandemics. It is a new form of communication in this 21st century.
“In such times like this, local media practitioners should not take Zoom lightly, but rather see it as an opportunity to get information(s), conduct interviews, arranged media conferences. Zoom like most other social media platforms is here to stay. It is up to us to use it and how we could make the best out of it,” he said.
Zoom is one of many web conferencing tools, but it has grown quickly in popularity in the Pacific during the pandemic, and also is well regarded as a reliable, high quality conferencing tool that works easily and effectively.
Dadamu said nowadays Zoom has turn out to be a vital tool used for virtual meetings and communications.
“During this Pandemic, the Zoom App has help many people and organizations to communicate and hold essential meetings – thanks to Zoom and therefore I would recommend Zoom as a tool to hold editorial meeting or just any meetings or communications which needs to be held virtually because of the threat of COVID-19.
“The pace Technology is taking is very fast and for media organisations and platforms to utilise the benefits of the way we manage media and tech infrastructure is to think outside the box of traditional media and look at social media platforms as a means to disseminate information and reach audiences locally, regionally and internationally with factual and accurate information(s),” he added.
Pacific Media Assistance Scheme (PACMAS) has approved eight (8) local journalists from Sunday Isles, Island Sun, Solomon Star and Solomon Islands Broadcasting Cooperation (SIBC) to participate in the online media workshop program.
The workshop program was funded by ABC International Development, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Programme (SPREP), Australian Aid and Australia Pacific Climate Partnership.