Report – by Alex Perrottet of Pacific Media Watch
A new Pacific profile site has been launched as part of 3News Online – with a page exclusively dedicated to Pacific issues.
Arthur Rasmussen, a cameraman for 60 Minutes, has teamed up with colleagues to produce the new page, which publishes both original content as well as other Pacific stories published in the region.
Rasmussen, a Samoan who has worked in the industry since 1996, says he is passionate about Pacific news and hopes the new Pacific Profile will be useful for all users of the site. He says the Pacific angle will enrich the quality of news, particularly stories on Pacific issues.
“But as Pacific islanders, we can provide a different angle, a different perspective on things.”
Rasmussen says covering Pacific news such as the Advance Pasifika march involves more than “just reporting on what Pacific people want” but finding out why Pacific people feel they are being left behind and what they are trying to achieve.
Fellow Samoan news reporter for TV3’s Firstline Seinafolava Sanele Chadwick, who covered the Advance Pasifika story, is partnering with Rasmussen to compile the content for the webpage. He is the only Pacific Island reporter for 3News.
Rasmussen says they are focusing on featuring Pacific people and giving them some profile.
“We’re going under the radar at the moment, not really creating any news but just profiling Pacific people and we’re not profiling such high profile people either,” he says.
“For example there’s a Samoan pilot in PNG at the moment and we are going to get his perspective on PNG and he will send us his photos. We’re going to the grass roots and getting ordinary people’s perspectives.
“Today, there are two guys walking from Auckland to Wellington to highlight domestic abuse. They’re doing something within the Pacific community and we’re going to profile them.”
Rasmussen and Chadwick are working on the page in their own time and learning as they go.
“In my work for 60 Minutes, it’s full on, I travel a lot and it’s hard to do other things. We’re not using any resources of 60 Minutes apart from a camera that belongs to them and my own skill base.
“At home I write things up and cut up footage, I’m completely self-sufficient and I respect TV3 for the opportunity to do this,” says Rasmussen.
“I’m so new to it, I am learning so much.”
The site also carries opinion articles as well as links to blogs by Pasifika people on a range of topics. Rasmussen says he is also learning from the other sources of Pacific news.
“There are not many sources for Pacific news, apart from sites like [Pacific Media Centre’s] Pacific Scoop. We modelled a lot of our thinking on the way the Pacific Scoop site looks and we hope to have links to different islands so people can click and find out what is happening.
“Since dealing with Pacific Scoop and Professor David Robie we are getting there. You can see Pacific Scoop is about 50 percent of our front page at the moment.”
Alex Perrottet is contributing editor of Pacific Media Watch