Posts Tagged ‘media training’

Obama’s Immigration Speech: 16 Media Training Lessons

Thursday, November 20th, 2014
  1. Obama cited border security achievements. Lesson: Outline achievements before proposing controversial ideas.
  2. Obama discussed business leaders. Lesson: Identify target audiences and attempt to win their support.
  3. Obama talked about his deportation efforts. Lesson: Address your critics. Again, explain achievements.
  4. Obama talked about illegal immigrants worshiping at churches. Lesson: Humanize your controversial issues.
  5. Obama mentioned George Bush’s point of view. Lesson: Find common ground with someone critics might relate to.
  6. Obama mentioned term “amnesty.” Lesson: Face head on terms that critics use to characterize an issue.
  7. Obama addressed critics questioning his authority. Lesson: Again, don’t ignore your critics. Address them.
  8. Obama stated “Pass a bill.” Lesson: Determine short, snappy sound bites media will gravitate to.
  9. Obama said single issue shouldn’t create gridlock. Lesson: Anticipate and address future problems.
  10. Obama mentioned concern of immigrants taking jobs, hurting middle class. Lesson: Don’t ignore critics.
  11. Obama talked of immigrants picking fruit, making beds. Lesson: Humanize topics for media. Paint pictures.
  12. Obama talked about ripping children from parents’ arms. Lesson: Tap into an issue’s emotions.
  13. Obama talked of immigrants leaving America and starting businesses elsewhere. Lesson: Explain why you’re offering solutions.
  14. Obama mentioned his own children. Lesson: Executives should personalize their ideas. Don’t be robotic.
  15. Obama told story of student. Lesson: The media want to interview real people impacted, not just business leaders.
  16. Obama quoted scripture, raising moral question. Lesson: Try to connect with all potential, target audiences.

Media Training

Media Training: Uber Exec’s Twitter Apology To Reporter

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Read this BuzzFeed story to learn what led to the apology. The reporter addresses the situation in her story and explains the executive also called and emailed her.  Today’s media training lesson:  Never consider anything off the record. Just ask Mitt Romney.

Bono’s “Crisis Communications” Video

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

Bono of U2 addresses criticism after Apple automatically put the band’s new album onto the playlists of millions of iTunes users.

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General Motors Drives Past Pink Elephant

Friday, October 17th, 2014

Public Relations

General Motors’ news release announcing the retirement of General Counsel Michael Millikin does not mention his role in handling the company’s ignition switch recalls. This is disingenuous.

Most people outside GM familiar with Millikin’s name know him due to the controversy. Some members of Congress are critical of GM for keeping him onboard despite the crisis. GM CEO Mary Barra didn’t necessarily need to defend him in the company’s news release. We infer she considers him a valuable adviser during the company’s recent problems. At a minimum, her praise of him in the release should have included the value she believes he brings to the table regarding this specific controversy. Excluding this aspect of his GM career is ignoring what everyone in the metaphorical room is thinking when hearing about his retirement.

Such news releases reinforce the stereotype that public relations is nothing than an attempt to spin reality despite the obvious. More companies must abandon this old school approach and at least acknowledge, if with only one sentence, the giant pink elephant stumbling around the room. Otherwise, the public may view other, more important company statements with skepticism.

Media Training: TV Anchor Talks Nudity, Gets Mixed Up

Monday, September 29th, 2014

People often prepare extensively for news media interviews but sometimes are surprised how much an interviewer does not know. The lesson:  Be prepared for anything.

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Media Training: Charles Barkley Commits Foul

Sunday, September 14th, 2014
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Charles Barkley is part of one of the most entertaining on-air TV crews covering the NBA. He’s fun to watch and we appreciate his candid opinions. He’s also not afraid to talk about issues related to race. He raised the issue of race during his recent comments about running back Adrian Peterson, but he committed a foul. When speaking about African Americans in the South and disciplining children, he stated, “Every Black parent in the South is going to be in jail under those circumstances.”

Barkley offers his personal experience, but he doesn’t speak for every African American in the South. When sharing strong opinions with the media, avoid generalizations that place everyone under the same roof.

Media Training: Watch And Learn From Carney & McCain

Thursday, September 11th, 2014
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Here’s a segment of Senator John McCain and former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney debating Obama’s foreign policy announcement. When conducting media training, we purposely interrupt people we interview to prevent them from finishing answers, gauge their responses and generally throw them off track. Media training participants often allow us to initially interrupt them and dictate the tone of the interviews. In this segment, we counted that Carney and McCain interrupted each other nine times. (If you’re keeping score, McCain eked out the interruption victory by a 5-4 margin.) Don’t let reporters or critics at an intense meeting interrupt you. Politely and assertively tell people you are happy to answer their questions or allow them to respond, but you want an opportunity to finish your thought. Networks may believe a parade of fierce interruptions makes for good TV. But by allowing someone to consistently interrupt and hand you a verbal beat down, audiences may assume you’re the moment’s loser even if facts proclaim you the winner.

Media Training: Prepare For 15 Data Breach Questions

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Video Production

If cybercriminals strike your company, prepare for the following questions from the media:

  1. How significant is the data breach?
  2. How many customers has the data breach impacted?
  3. How many company locations has the data breach impacted?
  4. What security had you put in place to prevent data breaches?
  5. How will the data breach impact sales?
  6. Have you identified the cybercriminals?
  7. When did the data breach occur?
  8. When did you first become aware of a potential breach?
  9. How did the data breach occur?
  10. What steps is the company’s security team taking?
  11. What outside security firms have you hired?
  12. How will your company handle any customers who see fraudulent charges?
  13. Will your company offer customers free identify protection?
  14. What steps should customers take to determine if the data breach impacted them?
  15. Will a company spokesperson appear on camera for an interview?

Media Training: Would You Ask This Question?

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

Media TrainingDuring media training, we asked a company’s president about customers who called reporters and complained about the business’ service. The company president began his answer by delivering a figure he believes shows most customers are happy with their service. But then he, as if slamming the brakes on a car in a high-speed race, asked a crucial question.

“Can you give me a little more information?” he asked.

Instead of speculating about complaints he wasn’t aware of, he requested further information to look into the specific cases. You can offer a sentence or two about the company as a whole, but don’t start spewing generic sound bites when reporters ask about incidents you don’t know about. Get extra information and look into the situation. This helps prevent you from providing wrong information and shows you care enough to take the time to learn specific details and come up with a solution if necessary. Just because a reporter is racing for answers doesn’t mean you can’t slow things down to get it right. When you later get the details, make sure you follow up with the reporter.

Media Training: Six Points About Ambush Interviews

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014
Media Training

During media training, a department director walked through the doors of a conference room. I turned on a bright light, stuck the camera in her face and began asking a series of tough questions. During this mock ambush interview, I moved the camera around a lot and sometimes pushed it awkwardly close to her face.

  • In theory, reporters conduct ambush interviews because all previous efforts to get those crucial interviews were unsuccessful.
  • In reality, some media conduct unnecessary ambush interviews because they make for dramatic “good TV.”
  • If reporters you don’t know ambush you, stop and politely ask them to identify themselves and the stories they are working on. This creates a less tense atmosphere and gives you a moment to pause, catch your breath and gather your thoughts.
  • If reporters ambush you in an awkward or uncomfortable location, don’t be afraid to tell them you are happy to answer their questions but prefer to move to a different area.
  • If you are not allowed to answer reporters’ questions, explain why.
  • If you ignore reporters who ambush you or act angry and disgusted, they will most likely show this to viewers or describe your actions to readers.