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Wednesday 26 July 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Soccer, Sports


Cooks journos join FIFA Women’s World Cup journalism programme
Cook Islands News online editor Losirene Lacanivalu and Cook Islands Television’s Nicolea Mateariki are taking part in the mobile and commentators journalism programme at the FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC) in Australia. SUPPLIED/23072550/ 23072551/ 23072552

Two Cook Islands sports journalists are part of a group of Indo-Pacific and First Nations women taking centre stage as trainee commentators and mobile journalists at the FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC) in Australia, under the support and mentorship of ABC International Development.

In collaboration with FIFA WWC, Oceania Football Confederation and the Office for Sport, the ABC is delivering two comprehensive training and mentoring programmes, one focusing on commentary training and the other on mobile journalism storytelling.

Cook Islands News online editor Losirene Lacanivalu is undertaking mobile journalism training while Cook Islands Television’s Nicolea Mateariki is participating in commentary training.

In a statement, ABC said this initiative aims to increase career opportunities for women in sports media in Australia and the Indo-Pacific region, amplifying women’s voices in sports and fostering professional networks through joining in a global sporting event. It also serves as a bridge between Indo-Pacific and First Nations women, to strengthen connections, exchange ideas and experiences, and work collaboratively.

Lacanivalu said the programme aims to promote gender equality in sports reporting.

“In the past, women choosing sports media as a career had challenges, challenges to have their work recognised, as male journalists dominated sports reporting,” she said. “This (programme) gives women a chance to voice and air our concerns and challenges in sports media industry.”

“For me personally, at the Cook Islands News, with my other female colleague, we are given the opportunity to report on sports and take photographs at sports event, which is fun.”

Cook Islands Television’s Mateariki said: “I feel grateful and blessed for the opportunity to be here.”

She added: “I feel commentary in the Cook Islands needs to be boosted and why not have a female commentator.”

Over the past three months, the women have undergone intensive media development and online training with ABC specialists, preparing for their participation in this major event.

During the FIFA WWC, participants will receive immersive training to enhance their skills and industry knowledge. They will practice commentary and mobile journalism skills before, during, and after the games, gaining valuable hands-on experience. Their participation not only represents a significant step towards achieving gender equality in sports media but also contributes to the diversification of perspectives and narratives within the industry.

“This impressive group of female sports journalists, who are committed and passionate in their training programmes, are leading the charge towards a more inclusive and diverse sports media industry,” Jo Elsom, ABC International Development Lead said.

Ali Osborne, social responsibility and legacy programme manager, Oceania Football Confederation said, “We are excited to see more female journalists and commentators being offered opportunities to cover matches in their native language, which will help to increase the visibility of the women’s game in our region.”

The FIFA Women’s World Cup is being held in Australia and New Zealand from 20 July to 20 August 2023. This project has been jointly funded by FIFA and the Australian Government, through Team Up and Office for Sport.