Pacific Scoop

Fiji Sun boosts Wansolwara’s readership with hot press deal

USP journalism head Shailendra Singh and students check out the latest Wansolwara. Photo: USP

USP journalism head Shailendra Singh and students check out the latest Wansolwara. Photo: USP

By a special correspondent in Suva

Wansolwara, an award-winning Pacific regional journalism training newspaper, came off the presses of a Fiji daily newspaper for the first time in its 13-year history last night.

The 16-page paper was being read today as a liftout in the Fiji Sun, Fiji’s fastest growing daily.

The Sun will now print and distribute the quarterly newspaper produced by University of the South Pacific student journalists for free.

Divisional head of journalism at USP Shailendra Singh said the programme was pleased to accept an offer from Fiji Sun publisher Peter Lomas to print and distribute the newspaper.

“This is the first time Wansolwara will be distributed as an insert by a major national newspaper,” said Singh.

“It’s a major show of confidence in our work. More importantly, this is a boost for journalism training in the region.”

Wansolwara ... hot off the Fiji Sun presses.

Wansolwara ... hot off the Fiji Sun presses.

Singh added that Wansolwara was self-funding and now students did not have to worry about covering printing costs.

“Our readership has grown overnight, which is a major incentive for students to improve the quality of their work,” Singh said.

Fiji Sun’s involvement will boost and enhance the journalism training experience for students from Fiji and the region.”

Stronger ties
Singh added that USP journalism would work towards strengthening ties with the media industry and other agencies to boost training for the next generation of journalists who would cover the region.

The deputy student editor of Wansolwara, Carlos Salinga, from the Solomon Islands, said it was thrilling to get Wansolwara circulated as part of a major national newspaper in Fiji.

“We feel very proud,” he said.

In 1999, a sister student paper of WansolwaraSpicol Daily – was printed as an insert daily for a week by the Fiji Daily Post with the support of then editor Jale Moala.

In Papua New Guinea, the University of PNG journalism student-run newspaper Uni Tavur was printed by the PNG Post-Courier from 1995.

Wansolwara was founded in 1996 by a team of USP journalism students. The founding editor was Stanley Simpson, now the award-winning editor of Mai Life and a reporter/presenter with Mai TV.

Written and produced by USP journalism students, Wansolwara has won several Journalism Education Association (of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific) annual Ossie Awards for best newspaper against entries from top universities in the region.

At the national level, Wansolwara has won awards at the Fiji Awards for Media Excellence and at the regional level, Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) awards.

Founding lecturer of Wansolwara Phillip Cass played a major role in the formative stages of the paper.

Redesigned format
Former USP journalism coordinator David Robie redesigned  Wansolwara in 1998 and integrated it as part of student assessment.

Under Dr Robie, who is now director of the Pacific Media Centre at AUT University, Wansolwara started entering and winning awards. The trend continued after Dr Robie’s departure in 2002.

Wansolwara is the flagship publication of USP’s journalism programme.

Established more than 20 years ago, USP journalism has produced about 100 graduates working in 30 media organisations in 10 different Pacific countries.

Many graduates have become established and influential journalists in Fiji and the South Pacific.

Fiji Sun boosts help for USP Journalism
Wansolwara Online archive


  1. Christine G, 21. September 2009, 10:51

    Congratulations to Shailen and the Wansolwara journalism students!

    A lot of quality reporting has been done by former and current journalism students and it’s great to see that the people of Fiji will get to enjoy reading stories from Fiji and around the region.

    This will also ensure journalism students get credit for the fantastic work they do.

  2. Cafe Pacific, 21. September 2009, 15:48

    Congratulations Shailen and the “Piloksies” – Wansolwara journos – and also the Fiji Sun team,

    This is a huge bonus all around for both industry and USP journalism, It gives a lot more immediacy and relevance to an award-winning regional paper that has always deserved a larger audience.

    As somebody who contributed much to building up this newspaper over five years from 1998, I am delighted to see Wansolwara a la 2009 having this great opportunity.

    Make the most of the chances this will bring.

    Best wishes

    David Robie
    Pacific Media Centre, AUT

  3. Vijay Naidu, 22. September 2009, 10:17

    Congratulations Shailend and Wansolwara team as well as to the Fiji Sun for the initiative to have the student newspaper circulated as part of the Fiji Sun issue. This first Fiji wide circulation as part of the Fiji Sun paper yesterday also was marked by the special 4 page indepth reporting of climate change and its implications for Pacific island environments and people. The initiative to launch this special issue on Laucala Campus was reported to AVAAZ as part of USP’s contribution to the world awareness day on climate change campaign. Congratulations and best wishes,


  4. luveiviti, 22. September 2009, 14:41

    Great to see such incentive by students. Lets hope they don’t go down the same road as the veteran newspapers where they are gagged every step of the way.

    It is our hope that this student initiative will give us an unedited version of Fiji Truth in essence.
    Heres to Freedom of Expression & Speech in Fiji.