Fiji’s Tanoa Waterfront Hotel played host to a UN reunion of sorts as 12 different nationalities were represented on day one of the OFC Media Officers Workshop.
Held annually since 2010, with a brief hiatus in 2013, the workshop works to build on the skills of each of the OFC Member Association media officers in the face of a constantly evolving media landscape.
OFC Head of Media and Communications Gordon Watson says the programme is hugely important for building the profile of football around Oceania.
“When I started working in football media eight years ago very few Member Associations or clubs employed a Media Officer.
“Now every Member Association, thanks to support from FIFA and the OFC, has a media department and as such it’s important that we meet as colleagues to share ideas, recognise trends and see where we can make collective improvements to promote our football, our nations and our cultures,” Watson says.
The introduction of media officers in each of the 11 OFC countries began with a four year programme called Win in Oceania in 2009. That programme has since been discontinued but aware of the need to deliver up-to-date information, OFC and FIFA have kept funding those roles.
Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti all have representatives who shared the current climate in their respective countries.
Fiji FA media officer Moiz Munif has been involved with OFC and Fiji FA since the programme was first implemented and has attended every media officer workshop to date.
He says every workshop brings a little more insight in respects to how his colleagues around the region are using different media channels to promote football and the different activities in their Member Associations.
“The workshop over the years has provided the only means of training for many of the media officers and in terms of further development – this workshop is a must,” Munif exalts.
“Prior to the first workshop we didn’t have clear guidelines to work from. The first one allowed the various media officers to share ideas along with the OFC media staff.
“This inspired me to work on new initiatives which sees Fiji proudly boast an eight-page newspaper lift-out which is inserted in the Fiji Sun newspaper every Thursday.”
And print isn’t the only place Munif is making a splash.
Being able to upgrade his skills every year has allowed him to successfully launch a 30 minute weekly television show, shown on FBC TV.
“The later workshops have enabled media officers to share their knowledge and reveal new areas that can be targeted,” he says.
“Following the workshops, Fiji FA was able to negotiate the supply of TV equipment which helped us to launch Fiji Foot last year.”
And he says he continues to learn new techniques that helps him grow his repertoire.
“This time I’m looking forward to the podcast presentation. The recent launch of Oceania Football podcast by the OFC media department has proven that an initiative like a podcast is a positive and easy way to further promote football in the country.”
While Munif is one of the grandfathers of this event, Cook Islands media officer Melina Tuiravakai is attending for the first time after entering the role just one month ago.
New to the position she may be, but with a strong background in marketing Melina’s hoping to start influencing the growth of football – with the goal of guiding it to the number one participation sport in the Cook Islands.
“It’s a great opportunity to network with the other media officers within Oceania, learn lessons, challenges and share experiences,” Tuiravakai says.
“The expectations I have for this workshop is to look at ways to increase visibility for CIFA through the current tools and develop new skills in football writing and filming.”
Tuiravakai says the diversity of the workshop, which offers sessions in social media, podcasting, writing and interviewing skills and television filming and editing, is one of the aspects that make it so appealing.
“There is so much to learn it’s difficult to just focus on one aspect in particular that I’m looking forward to.”
She says the environment has been a welcoming one, and she already feels like she’s made some firm friends.
“I appreciate the honesty and willingness everyone has shown in terms of sharing their knowledge. Not only will that assist each of us to develop creative ideas and new skills but it makes us more aware of the innovative tools that can assist us in our roles.
“We are all from different footballing environments but we have a common goal which is to raise the profile of football. Bringing all the media officers together annually is a great chance to see how each of us has grown and to encourage camaraderie.”
The OFC Media Officers Workshop is being held in Fiji from 3-6 April and features a media and communication component coupled with a television component led by OFC TV.