Student Q&A: "Excellence" and global perspective attracted Maraia Vula to Global Business Journalism
" I would like to think globally and also demonstrate integrity and accuracy, as well as to learn how to create top quality coverage of business and finance."
By YEONSU (COLINE) KIM
Global Business Journalism reporter
"Bula" is the most common word in the Fijian language. It is the same as “hello” in English. Today, I am going to introduce one of my Global Business Journalism program colleagues from the Fiji islands. Unlike many of her classmates, who recently graduated from university undergraduate programs, Maraia Vula is already a veteran journalist. She is the business editor of the Fiji Sun based in Suva, Fiji. She also is the first Fijian – and the first Pacific Islander – ever to join the Global Business Journalism program.
Through this interview, I hope I can help you understand who she is.
Global. Business. Journalism.
Global. Business. And journalism. G-B-J stands out as a reflection of Maraia’s identity. She has worked as a journalist since completing her undergraduate studies in Fiji. She thinks globally. And her specialty is business journalism. She is Managing Editor for Business at the Fiji Sun, where she is an acclaimed journalist and journalism trainer.
The Fiji Sun is the biggest daily newspaper in the Pacific Islands, where print editions of newspapers are still widely read. Her team produces a minimum of four pages daily in the print edition, a 16-page Saturday Business liftout, and daily digital reportage on various platforms. Because Fiji is a small nation, there is substantial interest in the rest of the world. The newspaper has ties to China: They carry the Xinhua News Agency for international news and have connections with China Daily.
As a business journalist, she covers business news including the stock market, commodity prices, aviation, agriculture, tourism, and overall local and international news impacting Fiji. She is currently responsible for running the most extensive business and finance reporting in the Pacific Islands.
In mid-2014, she had a stint as an acting editor, the beginning of her leadership role. Upon return to the Suva headquarters she took charge of the newspaper's "engine room" – the subeditor’s desk/department. In 2017 she helped the Fiji Sun produce a weekend newspaper that sometimes exceeded 200 pages. Then she moved to head the business department, where she manages a dedicated team 24/7.
Tsinghua, new start
During President Xi Jinping’s visit to Fiji in November 2014, he announced the establishment of a Chinese Culture Center in the country. Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Qian Bo said the China Cultural Center in Fiji has done much to strengthen China-Fiji relations. In 2017, Maraia learned basic Mandarin at the China Cultural Centre in Suva. She participated in a cultural education tour in China as one of the two representatives from the China Cultural Center. After visiting, she thought that learning the Chinese language and paying attention to China’s economy and culture would be beneficial.
Her main reason for obtaining a master’s degree in Global Business Journalism is its unique teaching technique with a combination of journalism skills and business journalism in an atmosphere with global students.
When asked to define GBJ as one word, without hesitation, she said “excellence.” She hopes that obtaining a Master of Arts in Global Journalism degree will enable her long-term goals to come true. Those goals include building the newspaper's business team and widening business coverage in Fiji and the Pacific region. Furthermore, she would also like to continue to train journalists to broaden their knowledge and inform the public, benefitting both Fiji and the Pacific Islands.
This article is one of a series of question-and-answer sessions with students in the Global Business Journalism program at Tsinghua University.