Young Reporter Rolynda Jonathan reflects on her time at the Youth Olympic Games

28 Jul 2017

Selected to take part in the IOC’s ground-breaking Young Reporter Programme at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Singapore 2010, Rolynda Jonathan reveals how her experience set her on course for a presidential assignment in her native Palau.

“A friendship which transcends the Pacific”

“A month before the YOG in Singapore I began work as a news reporter for the Oceania Television Network, which is how I was lucky enough to be involved in the Young Reporters Programme. Looking back seven years ago brings back nothing but treasured and lifelong memories. It was amazing to meet and work with fascinating, like-minded inspiring journalists from all over the globe. We formed a strong bond over the course of the two weeks of the YOG, and a friendship which still transcends the vast Pacific Ocean that now separates us.”

My experience with the Young Reporters Programme taught me discipline and gave me the tools to pursue a successful career in journalism Rolynda Jonathan
Eyes wide open

“My experience with the Young Reporters Programme taught me discipline and gave me the tools to pursue a successful career in journalism. It provided me with a stronger understanding of the world of sport and opened my eyes to what happens behind-the-scenes, and the key strategies in covering such a major event. These skills and understanding strategies have guided me throughout my career in journalism, even though I have recently moved from mainstream media to public relations.”

Camera confidence

“I was in my early twenties and in the early stages of my career in 2010. I was a journalist but I was untrained, learning out of passion and love for a profession that I initially was not sure whether I had the courage to pursue. Those early years were very intimidating, as I worked alongside experienced media practitioners who had covered all the developmental and political milestones of the Republic of Palau and the wider Pacific region. The YOG in Singapore boosted my self-confidence both in front of and behind the camera. I began to feel more relaxed conducting interviews, and was no longer as nervous when I attended high-profile conferences and meetings.”

IOC/Jason Evans
The art of the edit

“One of the most important lessons I learned in Singapore, and one which I will never forget, was during the broadcast training sessions with our mentor, Tracey Holmes. She demonstrated to us how to plan and produce a single video report from writing the initial text, through the filming process, and how best to edit the footage in less than 20 minutes. I was inspired by the passion and professionalism with which she spoke during the tutorial, and it was then I realised that the media was my calling, and that I must pursue it.”

A widening brief

“I returned to Palau in 2010 much more confident in my ability to report and deliver news. I decided I would chase my dream regardless of the challenges in front of me, and that determination drove me forward. At first, I continued to cover sports in Palau and the Micronesian region for Oceania Television Network, reporting on both the Belau Games and Micronesian Games, and I subsequently became a member of the Palau Women and Sports Commission (PWaSC) under the auspices of the National Olympic Committee. Thereafter I also began covering local politics, environment and climate change issues, among other general beats.”

IOC/Takamitsu Mifune
Pacific plaudits

“In 2012, I became the first-ever journalist from the Pacific to be awarded a fellowship by the UNEP/APFED Media Fellowship, after my contribution to a publication called ‘Environmental Dispatches: Reflections on Challenges, Innovation and Resilience in Asia-Pacific’. It was a huge honour to be recognised in this way.”

The freedom of the press

“In early 2016, following the Pacific Media Summit in Palau, a group of communication officers, veteran journalists and I incorporated the Palau Media Council,  which I continue to serve as a member. The Council’s aim is to advance and protect media freedom in my country and encourage a positive working environment for journalists.”

IOC/Jason Evans
Going into politics

“Following a year-long stint working for the Embassy of Japan in Palau as a public relations assistant, a job which began in 2015, I was offered the opportunity to work for our nation’s President, His Excellency Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr., as the new Deputy Press Secretary. I started in November last year, and although I no longer work for the Oceania Television Network, I am still involved with Pacific Note, a website which covers local stories and issues here in Palau.”

My enduring Olympic dream

“I look forward to returning to mainstream media in the not- so-distant future, pursuing a degree in journalism and hopefully once again being involved in some way with the Olympic Movement. In the meantime, my intention is to contribute to the development of Palau’s media industry in my current capacity at the Office of the President and with the Palau Media Council.”

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