Media training in 2020 for spokespeople

I’m currently updating my 2020 media training slides and was thinking about the changes in media, even since last year.

A few things stood out as developments and one particular example of how NOT to conduct a media interview.

  1. Changes in the media landscape have come about due to fake news, disinformation, bias and more frequently, advertisers being given media coverage over newsworthy stories
  2. Tech evolution including streaming and the new 5G networks has meant that the way in which people consume information is at when they want it and the speed of connectivity is faster than ever
  3. The focus on Brexit and the political landscape has meant that much commentary includes a political angle
  4. Media strategies are changing and they should be more integrated with the wider public relations and communication strategy, which supports organisational goals

Media interviews and how NOT to handle them

Most recently, my attention was brought to BBC5 Live interview with ex-no 10 Director of Politics and Communication, Sir Craig Oliver, who when facing journalist Emma Barnett, who had balanced the interview with many other spokespeople, he came across as if he didn’t know what the interview was about, hadn’t heard the other points of view, he was defensive and out of touch. That’s not how we want the business of public relations to be perceived by anyone, but on the wider subject of media interviews, his is a lesson in how NOT to handle them. Give it a listen via the Twitter post here. Emma is trying to interview Sir Craig and asks him to explain what he meant by a phrase, yet Sir Craig was patronising, talked over her, and was very rude about her entire part of the show. His personal reputation will now be in tatters and his peers will most definitely have lost respect for him.

People buy people

No-one likes a know-all, people can relate to other people, not puffed up language and defensive responses. In the grand scheme of things, Emma could have gone for the jugular but didn’t. She showed professionalism. Not all journalists are the same and when some smell blood, they go full vampire on you…

If you need media training, get in touch

If you’d like to know more about my media training, please get in touch. I tailor the sessions around your needs and work ahead of the training to familiarise myself with your organisation, previous news, dip a toe in your social media channels, and ask questions about your challenges and what keeps you awake at night.

Whilst the training isn’t media relations training, nor is it crisis planning and communication, it certainly should be considered when developing the live interviews, as it’ll give you a sense of what you might face one day and how you need to handle yourself.

In the end, you’ll leave feeling more confident in taking interviews and preparing for them. I recommend an annual or at least bi-annual refresher in media training as things change quickly!

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post!