Saturday, November 3, 2007


Here is an interview with Christine Gounder, who currently work as a Journalist for Pacific Media Networks, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand. Enjoy her story!

My name is Christine Gounder and I’m originally from the one and only gold town of Fiji, Vatukoula. If you’re wondering why my name is strange, that’s because my dad is Indian and my mum is part Fijian, part European. Mum’s paternal family are the Lockington family from Kadavu. My maternal grandmother is the Bailey family from Naitasiri. My family history looks complicated but I love it!

Your primary, secondary and tertiary education
I attended Vatukoula Convent School during my primary years then went to Tavua College for secondary school. I attended USP in 1998 and graduated in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts with double majors in Literature/language and Journalism. I came over with my family to NZ in 2001 and received the Pacific Island Media Association scholarship to do my Masters in Communication, which I graduated from last year.

Where are you based now?
I now work for the Pacific Media Network news team, that is Radio 531pi and NiuFm. I am the senior journalist for Pacific Radio News, and we are based in Ponsonby, Auckland.

What work do you do and please explain what your work involves?
As a senior journalist, apart from coming up with ideas for news stories, I also supervise the junior reporters and help them when they need it. One has to be very creative to be a journalist, creative with words and have a passion for writing. With radio, I have to write a story using very simple language so that the listener will understand. Apart from writing stories every hour, I also have to do interviews in between.

What are some key points you need to highlight in order for someone to do the work that you do?
In order to become a journalist, you must first of all love writing and love the language. Then because we work on deadlines, in radio it’s every hour, you have to be disciplined and know how to manage your time. You must be confident of yourself because you will be questioning prime ministers etc while on the job. You must be confident enough to walk up to them in public and interview them. You must also like meeting people and love to work, because you’re on duty 24 hours and may be called to do a job anytime of the night.

What are some challenges you face in this career?
Deadline is like the bible for journalists, YOU HAVE TO MEET YOUR DEADLINE. I guess a challenge for me is when there is a breaking story and I have to do an interview, cut up the audio and write the story in say five or ten minutes. Another challenge is finding a story and interviewing someone which other journalists would never think of. There is a lot of competition between journalists and different media and it’s all about getting the story out first as accurately as possible.

What are some of the benefits you gain in this career?
I gain knowledge everyday about people, politics and how the world works. I am also up to date with most news events around the world. You get to know a lot of people, from important people to grass roots. Whenever taking part in discussions, people look to you for an informed, unbiased opinion. And if you write great stories, then you get famous too!

If you have traveled internationally with your work, what place do you enjoy the:
Most and why?
Least and why?

I always enjoy going back home to Fiji. The last time I was there was in December during the 2006 coup when I went to report on it. I would hate to go to a place where I don’t like the food and no one speaks English. I had a bad experience in Korea and hated it.

What advice would you give young ones who want to pursue this career?
Nothing is impossible …whatever your dream is. If you believe …then you will achieve. Perseverance is important, never give up. Pray, talk to your friends and family if you need help. If you want to get into the journalism field, love writing, meeting people, asking the heard questions, then this job is for you.

How did you know about, and if you would like to recommend this site to others, why should you do so? I first heard about it from a colleague at work and only found out who the people behind it were when I interviewed Tarisi for a news story on a different subject. I think it is a great site for keeping the Fijian culture alive. Unity and closeness is a big part of the Fijian culture and Fijituwawa helps make it a reality. Fijituwawa is about us!