Broadcaster training and development in the Cook Islands

Picture of the TVNZ control room during the 2018 Commonwealth Games

Since 2016 Pacific Cooperation Broadcasting Limited (PCBL) has provided equipment and training programmes for journalists and broadcasters across the Pacific.

This included an annual Media Exchange Programme with teams of broadcasters travelling to New Zealand for a two-week placement at a broadcasting network. The exchange aimed to provide insight on best practice broadcasting to be taken back to the Pacific and implemented in their own operations.

Tai Blake, a media operator in the Cook Islands, participated in the 2018 Media Exchange Programme with a placement at TVNZ. He was part of a team of four media operators from the Cook Islands, Fiji, and Solomon Islands that worked the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games delivering a specifically Pacific live feed of the games for Pasifika TV. Tai says it was an honour for them to be there to “capture every podium moment for our Pacific athletes” and that it was “very important because we got to see our own people.”

Tai Blake, participant in training provided by PCBL

Similarly, Tiana Haxton of Cook Islands Television took part in the 2019 exchange with a journalism placement at Radio New Zealand in Wellington. “One of the highlights was that we got to go and spend some time with the team in Parliament,” says Tiana, “I got to be part of Trevor Mallard’s programme for one of the days.”

Tiana Haxton from CITV, participant in training provided by PCBL

Due to border closures making in-person exchanges impossible, PCBL hosted a series of virtual training sessions in 2020 as part of their Strengthening Media Resilience programme to develop news and production capabilities in the Pacific.

Broadcasters from Samoa, Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Federated States of Micronesia were trained by TVNZ 1 NEWS’ Pacific correspondent Barbara Dreaver and producer Lee Taylor for 10 weeks.

Tiana says the skills learned in those classes ensured they had a safe news service during the pandemic and helped make sure no one was at risk.

“It’s not every day you see all these different companies from all across the Pacific being banded into one programme,” says Tiana. “I’d just like to say a huge meitaki ra nuinui to PCBL … for involving us, the Cook Islands, in this incredible programme.”

PCBL continues to roll out training programmes across the region that aim to empower more Pacific broadcasters to tell authentic stories from their own perspective.  The next round of online training workshops will be held late September focusing on script writing, Pasifika storytelling, editing, effective social media and using PCBL’s PacHub system for disaster resilience.