In the Fiji Sun today was the news that Stan Ritova has passed away in Sydney.
Stan of course comes from the Ritova chiefly family in Naseakula, Labasa, He was known as Stan Whippy for many years.
Media legend ritova passes away
Pioneering local journalist, editor, and author Stan Ritova died in hospital in Sydney yesterday. He had not recovered consciousness after a stroke on Friday. In his later years, Stan had a long fight with kidney trouble and had been on dialysis.
In a media career that spanned the decades, the man popularly known as Ratu Stan was:
l the first local chief reporter of The Fiji Times,
l first news editor of the original Fiji Sun,
l editor of the Daily Post when it was in its heyday,
l and consultant editor for the new Fiji Sun. He was co-author of Sitiveni Rabuka’s book No Other Way, about the then Colonel Rabuka’s two 1987 coups.
Stan, whose mother was from the chiefly family of Nasekula, Labasa, began his career as Stan Whippy.
He wrote thousands of stories, capturing the essences of life in Fiji’s rural and urban areas. He was also an accomplished photographer.
He was a regular reporter on Fiji for international news agencies and had close friends in the international media, especially in Australia and NZ.
He shared his experiences in numerous forums and writings. He was a mentor to many who went on to make their mark in journalism in Fiji and overseas. He was the president of the former Fiji Islands Media Association. Under his proud leadership the association opened Fiji’s first journalism training institute. It had the country’s first local journalism trainers, who had been sent to an American university as part of their preparation.
Stan said that journalists should be encouraged to go out of the office and do stories because then the story would make better reading that way.
It was a life he led during his long-time career, travelling throughout Fiji to record events big and small, and recording the daily history of the nation. He also stressed that journalists should be totally dedicated to their work, something in which he led by example. He was recognised with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Fiji Awards for Media Excellence (FAME) in 2007.
He created a ripple of laughter when he said he was third awardee and his predecessors only received it after they had died. The two were Sir Leonard Usher and Robert Keith-Reid, both of whom he had a long friendship with. At the awards night, Stan had encouraged young journalists to make “a total commitment to the profession”. “To become a journalist you have to be very dedicated,” he had stressed again.
He became a champion for healthy kidneys and kidney care after joining the Kidney Foundation of Fiji. Stan worked tirelessly with others for the creation of space at Suva’s CWM Hospital to house kidney patients who would undergo dialysis treatment.
He had moved to Sydney himself because of the need for regular dialysis treatment. There he was working on a book on the Fiji newspaper industry. When he died at North Shore Hospital in Sydney he was reportedly surrounded by his family. They included his children whose successful careers he was extremely proud of.
Funeral arrangements are being made.
(later - on Friday) There are two very good tributes to Stan Ritova in today's Fiji Times - an editorial and a feature article by Matt Wilson. It looks like the family will take Stan's body back to Fiji for the funeral.