Category: Media Training Tips

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A Spokesperson Must: Remember Whose Name Tag You’re Wearing

When you speak to a reporter on behalf of your organization, it’s rather clear on whose behalf you’re speaking. But I’ve regularly encountered a situation that makes the line harder to distinguish.

That situation occurs when one brand—often an uncontroversial one—partners with a more controversial brand. Sometimes, the uncontroversial brand has received a donation from the more controversial entity—and the spokesperson for the uncontroversial one suddenly feels pressure to stand up for their new partner.

In this post, you’ll see an example of how this dynamic plays out.

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Oops! I Have That Thing You Just Denied Saying On Tape.

I recently heard a story about a company spokesperson who got himself into trouble during a media interview.

While speaking to the reporter, he called one of his group’s critics (and occasional partners) a negative term. When the article came out, his bosses were furious.

He denied everything, insisting that he hadn’t used that term and that the reporter had distorted his words. But there was one thing he didn’t count on.

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One Reporter’s Surprising Admission: “I Lie Constantly”

Glenn Thrush, a reporter for Politico, sent several surprising tweets last week about the promises reporters make—and break—with communications staffers arranging interviews with their principals.

His main argument? It’s acceptable to “lie” to PR pros by promising a favorable story in exchange for access—and then doing the story you want to do anyway.

I’ll let others debate whether or not such lies are acceptable. In this post, I’ll offer some important insight into the mind of a journalist and discuss how that mindset affects you.

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Five Ways To Incriminate Yourself During A Media Interview

I recently came across a funny video clip from the television show Judge Judy that features a young man who didn’t know when to stop talking.

When I finished laughing at his unwitting admission of guilt, I thought about the things spokespersons do that can lead an audience to shift their impressions of them from innocent to guilty in mere moments.

In this post, you’ll read about five mistakes we regularly see during practice interviews with our clients — and learn how to avoid them.

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Happy Thanksgiving: The “Watch Your Back!” Edition

It’s become something of a Thanksgiving tradition for me to post this video of Sarah Palin from 2008.

The backstory: Shortly after her defeat in the 2008 general election, she visited a local turkey farm in Alaska to pardon a turkey. She was oblivious to the bloody turkey slaughter taking place behind her.

But this isn’t a “Palin-bashing” article. As you’ll see, other people have made similar mistakes. And in this post, you’ll learn how to avoid them.

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Should You Ever Make Your Opponent’s Case For Them?

A reader recently asked whether it is ever safe to make an opponent’s argument before shooting it down:

“There’s the advice about not repeating any criticisms of yourself. But what about repeating positive statements that are commonly made in favor of a prevailing viewpoint, before showing why they’re inaccurate? Does that help reinforce the invalid statements and damage your case?”

Bringing up your opponent’s case before shooting it down can be effective — but there are some important rules to consider first.

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Beyond The Interview: How To Influence a News Story

In this guest post, a fellow media trainer writes that “One of the key success strategies we’re seeing from our media training sessions is a shift in focus from interview practice to non-interview practice.”

He writes, “That’s not to say that practicing interviews isn’t the most important aspect of media training—it is. But there are some sophisticated non-interview techniques that can influence the story perspective.”

In this post, he will offer you several ideas to help influence the final story—before the interview ever takes place.

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Media Interview Bridging: Is Bridging An Outdated Practice?

In my series about media interview bridging, I’ve explained the importance of bridging and showed you how to execute the technique effectively.

But I wanted to acknowledge a debate in the public relations industry about whether or not bridging is an outdated practice that should be abandoned.

My short answer to that question is no. But the critics make a few points worth examining—so in this post, I’ll look at the main objections and assess their validity.

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