Posts

Media Training Case Study

Peter Greste

This week we saw Al Jazeera journalist, Mr Peter Greste walk free from a seven-year jail sentence in Egypt. Mr Greste was found guilty based on evidence that he had in his possession, namely video footage, supporting the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood but his lawyers have said there was absolutely no substance to the allegations.

During his 400 days in prison, he maintained his innocence and was able to manage his expectations well throughout the process with the support of his family. It was during his press conference in Brisbane we all witnessed that love and support as his family sat by him while he delivered his sincere and very poignant address to his fellow members of the media.

Without a doubt, Mr Greste nailed the press conference. He began by genuinely thanking his family, this was heartfelt and meaningful and certainly came across on camera. Mr Greste tells a story, it is vivid and personal. His experience draws you in – this is a great technique to use when dealing with the media. He also names the campaign his family, along with the media, embarked on in order to release him – Journalism is not a crime #FreeAJstaff. He links the campaign to his social media sites – a clever call to action. What are your thoughts on his press conference?

Peter Greste

Media training: Marshawn Lynch goes OTT with his key message!

So it’s one thing to prepare a key message and weave it into a media interview…. it’s a whole new ball game (pardon pun) to do a Marshawn Lynch … but gee did he get worldwide attention and I think we all got the message!  If you missed him take a look:

Marshawn Lynch

Media training: perfecting your brand message in an interview 

In our media training workshops, we will often get through an entire practice interview without a single mention of the organisation, or product the interviewee is there to talk about. When you have questions being fired at you it’s easy to forget exactly why you are there.

Even more surprising are the number of people we’ve worked with who have struggled to articulate exactly what their organisation does!

So how do you ensure your brand message comes through? Here are some tips to help with your interview preparation.

  1. Who are you/your company?
    Who you are may relate to your vision and mission. Who do you want to be and how do you plan to leave your mark? These messages embody the core of your being, your values, and your competitive advantages.
  2. What do you do?
    In basic terms, clearly and succinctly articulate what product or service you offer or provide to your clients. This isn’t a sales pitch so stick to the facts.
  3. What benefit do you bring to the audience?
    Tell it as if someone else, an objective third party, was sharing it with a friend or colleague. It’s easier to trust that third-party voice, and it’s the same voice journalists write in, so it may help your story get picked up if your message is well-crafted.
  4. What evidence do you have to support your position?
    This could be in the form of awards, recognition or testimonials from your best clients. Anything you can offer to validate your claims will enhance your credibility.

Once you have the messaging developed, it becomes your bible to inform and influence all content development, from your website to a media kit and the boilerplate of press releases. It will also play into advertising content, if you place paid media. So now there’s a consistent voice across all platforms: earned (editorial), owned (website and social media) and paid (advertising).

 

Media training: issues and crisis media management

Media training is so much more than just being “camera ready” with key messages prepared.

Media training should delve deeper to ensure an organisation has recognised potential risks (commonly referred to as an issues audit) and then developed a media plan which will set out exactly what staff should do in the event of an organisational crisis.

A crisis, well handled, doesn’t have to escalate to the point of becoming a public relations disaster. Being prepared with a list of possible scenarios and potential incidents will help manage sensitive or emerging issues in the media.

Below is a list of the steps involved in preparing a comprehensive and concise issues and crisis media management plan.

  1. identify the issue/incident
  2. what is the impact? What is the level of risk?
  3. highlight who in the organisation owns the issue
  4. who are your stakeholders?
  5. identify your media spokesperson
  6. what is your media strategy – is this a reactive response or proactive opportunity
  7. what is your media response.

Make sure the appropriate people have agreed with the media strategy and the media responses are approved. Having prepared this plan in advance will ensure a speedy and coordinated response time should any issue or incident occur.

 

Premier Mike Baird silenced by City Rail

Outdoor interview at a train station – what could possibly go wrong?

Who plans a press conference on a station platform in peak hour?

Not sure the Premier was going for laughs but this makes for very funny viewing.

Mike Baird struggles to be heard

 

Media Training: Interview Disaster

Oh dear.  This radio interview is a classic example of all the things you shouldn’t do when you talk to a journalist.

1. Agree to an interview when you have not prepared properly.  You should be very clear about the point you would like to make – don’t ‘wing’ it.

2. Agree to an interview whilst driving a car.  You need to be 100% focused on the interview.

3. Have someone in the background trying to prompt you.  In my experience this NEVER helps.

4.  Stop the interview mid way through and complain that the questions being asked were not the questions you were expecting.

5.  Hang up on the journalist.

By way of background the interview features Tom Tilley from Triple J talking to Kathy Ward from Chic Model Management about skinny models.

Triple J Hack Interview

Tony Abbott’s Chief of Staff and her slip of the tongue: Media Training Mistakes

Recently Peta Credlin, well known in political circles as Tony Abbott’s Chief of Staff made an unfortunate slip of the tongue when facing the media over a drink driving charge.  I’ve watched this clip a few times just to make sure I didn’t miss something ….

She addresses the waiting media pack with what seems to be a prepared speech.  She acknowledges her mistake, thanks police and the courts and then says ….

“Justice doesn’t have to be done, it has to be seen to be done.”

Watch the clip and see if  you agree with me.

 

I’m sure it was an honest mistake.

Incredibly The Australian fixed up her gaffe and quoted her as saying “Justice doesn’t just have to be done, it has to be seen to be done.”

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/election-2013/drink-drive-charge-dismissed-for-abbott-chief-of-staff-peta-credlin/story-fn9qr68y-1226715975509

But when her boss and other politicians are so harshly judged and scrutinized by the media, I wonder why Ms Credlin”s mistake was not even mentioned and in the case of The Australian, her quote was doctored so that the mistake was rectified.

What do you think?

Your first TV Interview: What should you do?

There is no doubt being interviewed on television can be nerve-racking.  Most of us dislike having our photo taken at the best of times!  So I understand why being interviewed on camera can be very uncomfortable.  Even more so when the interview is being recorded live in a studio.

For the uninitiated there are lights, monitors, microphones, sound technicians, floor managers, researchers and makeup people coming at you from all directions.  Often the hosts are so busy they don’t get to say hi until that studio red light has switched on and “you’re on”!

Hopefully by that time you’ve prepared your points.  You know your objective and have planned what you’d like to say.  But where to look?????

Placed directly in front of you is a huge monitor showing yours truly in wide screen.  It’s hard not to stare at it.  The producer directed you NOT to look at any of the studio cameras but when you take a seat next to the host it’s hard not to notice the red lights that go on and off indicating when a camera is being used and when it’s not.

My absolute best piece of advice is (unless directed otherwise) to focus on the person asking you the questions.  Try not to worry about what’s going on around you.  If you can focus on the host you are almost guarnanteed to be looking in the right direction.  And when the interview is over stay seated until you are directed to move.  There’s nothing worse than watching a guest trying to leave the set when he or she is still on air.

Media Training Tips: Do’s and Dont’s

There are a a few golden rules when it comes to speaking to journalists.  I’ve put together a list of simple “do’s” and “don’ts”.  Here goes:

Don’t say “as I said before” or “as I was telling you earlier” or “as I explained to your producer” or make any reference to an earlier conversation.

Don’t overuse the journalist’s name.

Don’t refer to the subject as “it”.  It can mean anything and later be taken out of context.

Don’t tell a lie.

Don’t make up an answer or guess.

Don’t over explain.

Don’t exaggerate.

Don’t fill in the gaps or pauses.  Make your point and the stop talking.

Don’t repeat a negative.

Don’t be frightened to show emotion.

Don’t speak off the record.

Do use language that’s descriptive and colourful.

Do use metaphors and analogies to explain your message.

Do repeat a key word or phrase to emphasise your point.