Samoa’s National 2AP Radio Senior Reporter, Meritiana Oti, has been awarded an international fellowship from the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.
The former News Anchor for TV1, Mrs Oti is part of a selected group awarded the international fellowship offered every two years by the Dart Center to established journalists in the Asia-Pacific region on ethical reporting on trauma.
The fellowship which will be held in Fiji, will focus on trauma reporting related to natural disasters and climate change events.
“Meritiana has been a part of the Dart trainings and programmes in Samoa in the past, and we are pleased to offer her this opportunity to widen her understanding of trauma journalism,” said Dr. Cait McMahon, Director of Dart Center for Asia Pacific.
Oti has worked in the media industry for over eight years and has covered the 2009 tsunami, Cyclone Evan in 2012 and national events related to disasters and climate change.
As a member of the Samoa Alliance of Media Practitioners for Development (S.A.M.P.O.D.) she has also actively participated in national media trainings.
“This will be the very first fellowship I will take part in. "And I am very much looking forward to learning more about reporting on trauma and how I can apply it in the field,” Oti said.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Communications Information and Technology Tua’imáló Asamu Ah Sam expressed his delight at the selection of Oti to the Fellowship and thanked Dart for the recognition of 2AP.
The Dart Center, which is an initiative of Columbia University is the only journalism programme that focuses primarily on trauma reporting, focusing on how journalists can cover victims of trauma and traumatic events. The fellowships have always been held in Asia but this is the first in the Pacific.
“As the first Dart Fellowship in a Pacific island, this opportunity brings together key journalists from the island to learn from experts in the field of trauma reporting and to share experiences from their own news organizations and countries,” McMahon said.
Oti will join 15 other recipients of the Fellowship in Nadi later this month, where she will be part of an intense one week training by leading experts in the trauma, journalism and climate change fields along with peer-to-peer discussions on the many challenges of covering disasters.