Archive for the ‘Mr. Media Training In The News’ Category
I was delighted to appear on “The Crisis Show” last night to discuss the latest meningitis scare, a New Jersey high school sex scandal, Kitchen Aid’s tweeting disaster, and Toyota’s massive recall.
Due to a technical glitch, you’ll only hear me (you’ll see Rich and Melissa). If you like this episode of “The Crisis Show,” you can catch Rich and Melissa live every Wednesday at 7 p.m. eastern.
Tags: In The News, The Crisis Show
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I was delighted to join the host of Fairness Radio, Patrick O’Heffernan, for a discussion about the first presidential debate between President Obama and Governor Romney. David Horowitz, a well-known conservative writer, joined in the questioning.
You can listen to the full interview at the link below. My portion begins at the 32-minute mark; you can fast forward directly to that point.
And if you missed my scorecard of the first debate, you can read it here.
Tags: In The News
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Beginning this month, I’ll be making monthly appearances on KFNS radio’s Mind Games: The Psychology of Performance. My regular segment is called “What Were They Thinking?”
The show airs on 590 The Fan in St. Louis, Missouri (and broadcasts worldwide on KFNS.com), and airs every Saturday morning from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m.
I appeared with hosts Tom Michler and Rob Staggenborg over the weekend to discuss the bad Supreme Court calls made by CNN and Fox News regarding Obamacare. We also touched on Mitt Romney’s curious strategy to avoid being labeled a “flip flopper.”
You can listen to the full interview below.
Tags: In The News, Mr. Media Training
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I joined Hillary Howard and Shawn Anderson on Washington D.C.’s top-rated WTOP this afternoon to discuss the scandal that led Rupert Murdoch to abruptly close his best-selling tabloid newspaper, News of the World.
If you missed the interview, you can listen to the three minute clip here: http://www.wtop.com/?nid=774&sid=2450764.
Tags: Brad Phillips, In The News
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I was thrilled to join Hillary Howard and Shawn Anderson on Washington D.C.’s WTOP yesterday afternoon to discuss the lewd photo saga facing New York Congressman Anthony Weiner.
For you non-Washingtonians, WTOP has long been the top-rated station in Washington, D.C.
If you missed the interview, you can listen to the three minute clip here: http://www.wtop.com/?nid=774&sid=2407890.
Tags: Anthony Weiner, In The News
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There’s a guy out there called “Mr. Media.”
I know, it’s confusing, but he has nothing to do with this blog. “Mr. Media” is actually a guy from St. Petersburg, Florida named Bob Andelman.
Bob is a terrific radio talk show host. His show can be heard on Blog Talk Radio, YouTube, iTunes, and many other places.
Over the past couple of decades, he’s interviewed everyone from Kirk Douglas and Chris Matthews to John Denver and Billy Bob Thornton. So it’s an honor that he turned his focus to me for his latest interview.
We spoke a couple of days ago via Skype. The first part of our conversation – about Osama Bin Laden, the first Republican debate, and the 2012 election – is below. It was the most fun radio interview I’ve had in a long time.
(Please forgive the slightly choppy video – I’ve already hurled this old webcam out the window and have ordered a better one.)
You can watch Parts Two and Three of my interview here.
Tags: In The News
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Below are highlights of recent media mentions of Brad Phillips and/or the Mr. Media Training Blog:
November 21, 2014 – WTOP-FM: Brad Phillips was interviewed by Washington D.C.’s top-rated WTOP-FM about the sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby. You can listen to the audio here.
February 3, 2014 – WTOP-FM:Brad Phillips was interviewed by Washington D.C.’s top-rated WTOP-FM about the best and worst Super Bowl ads of 2014.
January 2014 – Salon.com: Brad Phillips was quoted in Salon.com regarding the media’s rush to report actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death:
Though the idea of that chills me to the bone, Philips Media Training founder Brad Phillips asserts that it’s not unusual. Though print journalists once voluntarily withheld names of victims until next of kin were notified, in the age of the Internet, where photos of a crime scene can be tweeted by passersby long before the first reporters reach the site, there’s no longer a hard and fast consensus around withholding names.
“Would releasing the news on an official channel — even without family notification — help clear up confusion and offer confirmation instead of allowing unconfirmed speculation to fester?” Philips wonders. “And couldn’t it be argued that that would be more respectful of the families?”
These are challenging questions, ones that should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
July 12, 2013 – KGO Radio: Brad Phillips appeared on San Francisco’s KGO radio to discuss the National Transportation Safety Board’s handling of an Asiana Airlines crash landing.
June 26, 2013 – WTOP-FM: Brad Phillips was interviewed by Washington D.C.’s top-rated WTOP-FM about Paula Deen’s poor crisis management (audio here).
April 14, 2013 – Huffington Post: Brad Phillips was quoted by The Huffington Post in a story called “Media Training for NFL and College Football Players: Sign Us Up!” Here’s an excerpt:
“Brad Phillips, President of Phillips Media Relations and author of The Media Training Bible, has a similarly humanistic approach. He is adamantly opposed to ‘spin and evasion’ and concentrates on helping clients to find their own method of presenting themselves to the public ‘in the best possible way while remaining honest, accountable and transparent.’”
April 3, 2013 – WTOP-FM: I appeared on Washington’s top-rated WTOP radio to discuss NBC’s handling of the Tonight Show transition from Jay Leno to Jimmy Fallon. Audio of the interview is here.
April 2013 – American Journalism Review: I was quoted in the American Journalism Review about a topic mentioned in The Media Training Bible: whether sources should conduct interviews by email. Here’s an excerpt:
“Phillips, a former producer for CNN who founded Phillips Media Relations in New York in 2004, says many of his clients come to him petrified of the press or feeling that at one time or another they have been burned.
He likes to use as a reminder of the importance of his work the lengthy interview Tony Hayward, the head of British Petroleum, granted after the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the sound bite the press pistol-whipped him with: “I’d like my life back.”
Some public relations firms, the minority of them, in Phillips’ view, teach clients to answer the question they want to answer, to avoid the question they’d rather not tackle. Phillips says he teaches clients to answer the question that was asked. For him, e-mail is a tool of clarity and precision.”
February 15, 2013 – WTOP-FM: I appeared on Washington’s top-rated WTOP radio to discuss what Carnival Cruises should do to recover from its ill-fated Triumph cruise. Audio of the interview is here.
December 6, 2012 – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Reporter Margaret Harding included me in her article about a recent crisis at the Pittsburgh Zoo:
Brad Phillips, president of New York-based public relations firm Phillips Media Relations, said the decision to remove the observation deck is a smart move by the zoo.
“Whether they remove it because they think it’s an actual danger or merely out of respect for the deep hurt in the community, either way it seems like the right thing to do,” Phillips said.
November 30, 2012 -The Tennessean (Gannett): Reporter Paul Barton included me in his article about embattled Congressman Scott DesJarlais, called “DesJarlais Faces Tough Task to Fix Reputation.”
“But Phillips, the image consultant, said, “I would be very reluctant to write his political obituary at this point.” While the pre-Thanksgiving interview was a good first step, Phillips said, DesJarlais needs to do much more.
“He needs to offer a very detailed and human explanation of how he’s come to change his thinking,” he said. “If they (voters) believe he’s sincerely changed, voters tend to forgive.”
November 27, 2012 – The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Reporter Mike Wereschagin included me in his article about a Pittsburgh Zoo’s controversial decision to send calendars featuring wild dogs that had recently killed a two-year-old at the Zoo to its members:
“They would have gained more appreciation from their members if they’d sent a letter saying that the calendar they printed included (a picture of the dogs) and they decided it would be inappropriate to send it out in light of this month’s tragedy,” said Brad Phillips, president of Phillips Media Relations, a New York public relations firm.”
“Meanwhile, Brad Phillips — president of Phillips Media Relations and founder of the Mr. Media Training blog — can foresee political opponents exploiting the bear-hug in a national campaign, but thinks both the context (the hurricane) and Christie’s communication skills can vindicate him.”
October 31, 2012 – National Post (Canada): Writer Kathryn Blaze Carlson included me in her article about humor in presidential campaigns called “Make ‘em laugh, get their votes.” She wrote:
“Brad Phillips, who prepares politicians for media appearances, argues that since the dawn of the 24-hour news cycle with the launch of CNN in 1980, the most likeable candidate has consistently captured the White House: Mr. Reagan over Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, George H. W. Bush over Michael Dukakis, Mr. Clinton over the elder Bush and Bob Dole.
‘The more relatable person won every single time, and humour is a key component of likeability,” said Mr. Phillips, head of Phillips Media Relations.’”
October 11, 2012 – The Hill: Writer Niall Stanage included me in his article about the vice presidential debate called “Biden dominates with sharp performance.” He wrote:
“Biden repeatedly laughed at inappropriate moments. He looked a little too angry for his own good at certain moments — and he won the debate,” said Brad Phillips, a media consultant and the author of a widely read blog on media training.
“Congressman Ryan — who was more consistent in tone throughout the debate — too often appeared rehearsed, flat, and junior,” Phillips added.
October 4, 2012 – Fairness Radio: I joined the host of Fairness Radio, Patrick O’Heffernan, for a discussion about the first presidential debate between President Obama and Governor Romney. You can listen to the clip here.
October 2, 2012 – NBCNews.com: Writer Bob Sullivan included me in his article called “Sarcasm campaigning: Social media hones cynical edge in presidential politics.” One of my quotes he featured said:
“Think about the Willie Horton ads (pillorying Michael Dukakis in 1988). So many others,” Phillips said. “If the Internet existed in those campaigns, would they have used online tactics? Of course.”
September 22, 2012 – The Hill: Writer Niall Stanage included me in his article called “Experts offer some pre-debate advice for Romney: ‘Be yourself.’”
“It is certainly later in the day than any candidate would hope,” said Phillips, the media consultant. “But being yourself is still the right thing to do. If you are dealing with all these questions about who you are anyway, why not run toward it?”
May 2, 2012 – The Hill: Writer Christian Heinze quoted me in his piece called “Lights, camera, action: Romney fights Hollywood’s take on big business:”
“Media consultant and the author of the Mr. Media Training Blog Brad Phillips thinks this is the route to go. ‘He should proudly own his wealth and needs an audience-focused message that convinces voters that his success can directly benefit them,’ he said.”
March 9, 2012 – Yahoo News: Political writer Liz Goodwin quoted me in her piece, called “Why Mitt Romney Can’t Shut Up About His Money:”
“There are ways to overcome the problem. [Harvard social psychologist Daniel] Wegner wrote in the American Psychologist journal last year that the best treatment may be ‘avoiding the avoiding,’ or, in reference to his own experiment, ‘setting free the bears.’
This happens to be the advice of Brad Phillips, a former journalist who is now a media consultant. He wrote not long ago that instead of unconvincingly pretending to be a regular Joe, Romney should embrace his wealth as other candidates, like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have. They’ve argued their wealth means they can’t be bought by special interests. ‘It’s time for Romney to start running as the person he really is: a rich guy,’ Phillips wrote on his blog. ‘Instead of hiding from his wealth, Mr. Romney should start explaining why his wealth will help the American people.’
February 3, 2012 – WTOP-FM and Forbes Magazine: My story about the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s crisis communications efforts after pulling their support from Planned Parenthood was featured on WTOP-FM, Washington, DC’s top-rated radio station, and in an article on Forbes.com.
February 1, 2012 – Politico: Columnist Dylan Byers included me in his story, “Mitt Romney’s Quote Problem:”
“Brad Phillips, president of Phillips Media Relations and and a former journalist at ABC and CNN, notes via Twitter that all politicians ‘have decades of warnings to help them prevent obvious gaffes and predictable coverage.’ That’s especially true for Romney’s ‘disciplined’ campaign.
But Phillips also notes an important historical coincidence: Romney’s father’s bid for the presidency was destroyed by a single quote — in his case, about the “brainwashing” he experienced in Vietnam (see above).
‘You’d think that Mitt Romney, whose father’s campaign was derailed by saying he was ‘brainwashed’ in Vietnam, would know better,’ Phillips writes.”
January 25, 2012 – The Hill: Writer Christian Heinze including me in his article, “Newt Gingrich May Find He’s Unable to Debate His Way to The Oval Office:”
“Brad Phillips, the president of Phillips Media Relations and author of the Mr. Media Training blog, thinks Gingrich’s style won’t play when he’s trying to sell general-election voters on his candidacy — and nowhere will that be more evident than in the debates. ‘Since the beginning of the 24/7 media age in 1980, the sunnier and more optimistic candidate has won all eight general elections,’ Phillips points out.”
January 20, 2012 – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Writer Mike Wereschagin quoted me in a story about Penn State’s crisis management efforts:
“They’ve done some things well, and they’ve done a lot of things poorly. Unfortunately for Penn State, they don’t have the luxury of doing only a few things right,” said Brad Phillips, president of New York-based Phillips Media Relations and author of a crisis communications blog.
January 10, 2012 – Minnesota Post: Writer Eric Black quoted my review of Mitt Romney’s “I like being able to fire people” gaffe:
“As Brad Phillips, who writes under the nom de blog of “Mr. Media Training,” said yesterday: “Gaffes that reinforce an existing narrative about a candidate are almost always the most harmful ones, and Gov. Romney is already enduring increasing attacks from opponents and Democrats alike for being more of a job “cremator” than job creator during his tenure at Bain Capital.”
December 31, 2011 – Mind Games Radio, KFNS, St. Louis: I was delighted to join Tom Micheler, Tom Schwarz and Rob Staggenborg on Mind Games Radio to discuss the ten worst media disasters of 2011. Part one is here, and part two is here.
December 14, 2011 – WTOP-FM and New York Times.com: Our annual roundup, The Ten Worst Media Disasters of 2011, received a lot of attention again this year. Brad Phillips was interviewed by Washington, DC’s top-rated radio station, WTOP; our story was also mentioned by the NYT.com, Washington Examiner and Political Wire.
November 29-30, 2011 – Several Political Websites: Our scorecard for the best and worst Republican debaters in the field earned numerous mentions and stories in the press. Talking Points Memo, PR Daily, Political Wire, and Politico all wrote about and/or linked to the scorecard.
November 14, 2011 – WTOP-FM: Brad Phillips appeared on Washington, D.C.’s top-rated WTOP to discuss NBC’s bizarre interview with alleged Penn State pedophile Jerry Sandusky.
October 10, 2011 – New York Times Blogs: New York Times blogger Gene Marks mentioned and linked to my series, “How To Be a Better Interviewer.”
October 5, 2011 – Pittsburgh Review Tribune: Writer Jeremy Boren interviewed me regarding the crisis communications approach of Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik, who was accused of kissing a boy 30 years ago.
July 7, 2011 – WTOP-FM, Washington, DC: WTOP, the Washington area’s highest rated radio station, interviewed me during the evening rush hour regarding the scandal that led Rupert Murdoch to shut down his popular British tabloid newspaper, News of the World. You can listen to the clip here.
“PR executive Brad Phillips…argues that Delta’s initial response to the controversy was incomplete, unhelpful, and basically added fuel to the fire. That’s too bad: this is exactly the kind of story that good crisis management PR could have killed before it got off the ground. Delta later issued a much better, easier-to-read question-and-answer-style statement.”
June 2, 2011 – WTOP-FM, Washington, DC: WTOP, the Washington area’s highest rated radio station, interviewed me during the evening rush hour regarding Congressman Anthony Weiner’s lewd photo scandal. You can listen to the clip here.
May 10, 2011 – Mr. Media Radio Show: Bob Andelman, host of Mr. Media Radio (unrelated to this blog) hosted me for three segments on his nationally-airing radio program. Among other things, we discussed Osama Bin Laden’s killing, the first Republican presidential debate, and the 2012 election. You can watch the Skype version here.
May 6, 2011 – MinnPost.com: In an article called “A Strange GOP Debate,” author Eric Black mentioned my analysis of the first 2012 Republican presidential debate.
April 13, 2011 – The Hill: Christian Heinze included two of my quotes in an article called, “A double-sided weapon: Nothing funny about being funny for GOP hopefuls.” In the article, Christian wrote:
“Brad Phillips, a media training expert and author of the Mr. Media Training blog, notes that since the era of 24/7 coverage began, making some laugh while others squirm hasn’t been a recipe for electoral success, since sarcasm tends to further anger those who already disagree with you. That, he says, doesn’t bode well for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) or business mogul Donald Trump, whom Phillips claims border on surly.”
“Phillips is impressed by Huckabee’s and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s “natural” sense of humor, but says the rest of the field isn’t “exactly a barrel of laughs.” Indeed, the rest of the field might counter that these political times aren’t for laughing, though if they can’t crack a smile, the joke might be on them.”
January 5, 2011 – The Star-Ledger (NJ): Columnist Kelly Haybour included this blog’s analysis of Gov. Chris Christie’s failed snow response in a column called “Gov. Chris Christie’s Snow Day: Bloggers On N.J.’s Lingering Leadership Questions.” In part, she wrote:
“…questions remain about Chrisitie’s image, the role of the newly-created lieutenant governor position and the politics of bad weather. Brad Phillips, blogging at Mr. Media Training:
Christie is right on the facts — he probably was able to do most of his job over the phone. But he’s missing one critical point: None of that matters.
In a crisis, facts alone don’t drive the story line. Optics matter, and Christie’s inaction was a stunning act of political tone deafness. He should have learned from the litany of other recent high-profile optical disasters, such as when: President Bush was photographed looking out from his plane over New Orleans days after Hurricane Katrina wiped out the city; President Obama and Vice President Biden were criticized for playing golf during the BP oil spill; BP CEO Tony Hayward was filmed attending a yacht race as tarballs rushed ashore in Florida.”
January 4, 2011 – Denver, Colorado: Hour-long interview with Rick Barber on Denver’s powerhouse NewsRadio 850 KOA
December 31, 2010 – Manitowoc, Wisconsin: The Breakfast Club on WCUB AM 980
December 30, 2010 – Denver, Colorado: KRCN’s Business for Breakfast with Woody Vincent. TO LISTEN: Click here, then click on the link for Hour Two on December 30, 2010. Fast forward to about the 42:20 mark.
December 30, 2010 – Traverse City, Michigan: 50,000 Watt Station WTCM NewsTalk 580
December 29, 2010 – Monroe, Wisconsin: WEKZ’s Morning Show
December 27, 2010 – Ventura, California: BRAINSTORMIN’ With Billy the Brain. Click here to listen.
December 23, 2010 – Racine, Wisconsin: WRJN Newstalk 1400
December 22, 2010 — The Fox News Channel: When the website Mediaite claimed our material as its own on the Fox News Channel without attribution, we requested a correction. Shepard Smith graciously offered the following correction on-the-air during his program Studio B:
“Couple of days ago, we had a segment that aired here on Studio B that listed the top ten media disasters of 2010. Our guest of that day was the Mediaite.com managing editor, Colby Hall. And as we reported, the media disaster list was published on the Mediaite website. What was not reported was that the original source of the content wasn’t Mediaite. Frankly, because I didn’t know that. That was courtesy of Mr. Media Training Blog. So there we go. Cleared up.”
December 22, 2010 — The New York Observer: Coverage of Mediaite’s failure to properly attribute our work on the Fox News Channel.
December 15, 2010 — The St. Petersburg Times: In an article entitled, “Study: Marco Rubio Strongest GOP Presidential Contender, Better Communicator Than Jeb Bush,” Political Editor Adam C. Smith wrote:
“Brad Phillips, an alum of ABC News and CNN, has posted an interesting study on his Mr. Media Training site, rating 18 potential Republican challengers to Barack Obama in 2012 based on their effectiveness communicating in front of the camera. It’s a mighty subjective study, based on reviewing video of TV interviews. Rubio earns a solid A, compared to A- for Haley Barbour and Mike Huckabee, B for John Thune, B-for Jeb Bush and C + for Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint.”
December 15, 2010 — Miami New Times: In a story titled, “Marco Rubio Rated Best Potential Republican Presidential Candidate Based on Communication Skills,” Kyle Munzenrieder of the Miami New Times wrote:
“There’s already at least one online moment hoping to draft Marco Rubio to run for President in 2012. Those supporters might not be completely insane. An analysis by former ABC News journalist and media professional Brad Phillips rates Rubio the best communicator of all potential Republican candidates. He got an “A” overall. The only other candidate to receive an “A”? Current President Barrack Obama, well Obama circa October 2008. Yep, Rubio is apparently a better communicator than present-day Obama.”
December 15, 2010 – Sunshine State News: In an article called, “Communications Guru Gives Marco Rubio High Marks,” Kevin Derby of Florida’s Sunshine State wrote:
“President Barack Obama may be an excellent communicator but he faces a serious challenge in that department from incoming U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, argued a prominent communications expert on Wednesday.”
“Maintaining that the best communicator has prevailed in every presidential election since 1980, Brad Phillips released a study Wednesday looking at the communication skills of Obama and 18 possible Republican opponents, including Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush. Phillips, a former journalist with CNN and ABC News, is the founder of Phillips Media Relations, a firm specializing in communications training, and is a prominent blogger.“
December 13, 2010: MediaBistro.com: MediaBistro.com, one of the world’s top 1,000 websites, featured Mr. Media Training in an article yesterday called “Mea Culpa: 5 Tips for Issuing a Public Apology.”
In the article, author Janelle Harris offers five tips for the right way to apologize. The full article is available for subscribers only, but the editors of mediabistro.com were kind enough to let me quote a few lines:
“John Mayer is a case of somebody who did it well. He made these comments in Playboy that were clearly insensitive about African-American women and his lack of attraction to them. He rightly was widely criticized for that,” says Brad Phillips, who pens the Mr. Media Training blog.
“But not only did he apologize, which the public can sometimes take as empty words, he very shortly after that canceled his Twitter account where he had 3.7 million followers, and took a rest from blogging. He said publicly that he was saying things in inappropriate ways, and he shut himself off from being able to do it. So, his apology was quickly followed by action. I think that demonstrated a clear sense of sincerity for the public, and that scandal seems to have passed without his reputation or career suffering greatly from it.”
November 4, 2010 — TexasMonthly.com: Senior Executive Editor Paul Burka used one of my blog stories as the basis for his article called, “Rick Perry vs. The Media.” Below is an excerpt:
This is from a Web site called Mr. Media Training blog:
“2010 was supposed to be the year that attacking the media — if not ignoring it altogether — was the winning media strategy. It didn’t turn out that way. Tuesday’s election results are a vindication for media strategists who have long argued that maintaining positive press relations is still the best path to electoral success.”
“That’s not to say that an anti-media campaign strategy can’t work. It can, and it did for a handful of candidates. But the high-wire tactic tends to be horribly overused, unnecessarily crippling otherwise viable candidates.”
October 4, 2010 — CBSNews.com: We commented on Christine O’Donnell’s new political ad, in which she proudly proclaimed, “I’m not a witch.” Writer Dan Farber wrote:
“By issuing her ‘I am not a witch’ denial quote, she has now entered that phrase into the political lexicon, along with other infamous denials,” media consultant Brad Phillips said. Among those famous phrases are President Nixon’s “I am not a crook,” and President Clinton’s “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
“Spokespersons should almost never use the language of denial, and should turn their statements into positive ones instead,” Phillips said.
September 2, 2010 — Huffington Post: When Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer went blank during a political debate, the Huffington Post’s Jason Linkins included our work in his story:
Great research and insight from Brad Phillips at Mr. Media Training, who pulls out a similar moment from the not-too-distant past:
Ms. Brewer’s gaffe is reminiscent of one made by Jeanine Pirro, a candidate who briefly ran for Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat in 2005. From New York Magazine:
Her most humiliating moment came right at the beginning, during her announcement: the now-famous 32 seconds of silence when she tried to find a misplaced page in her speech. It was the kind of horrifying who-am-I-and-why-am-I-here mishap that anyone who speaks in public has nightmares about. Suddenly, Pirro became a punch line.
Will Gov. Brewer become a punch line now? Yes, at least for a few days. The bigger question is whether it will irrevocably damage her political career (as it did for Ms. Pirro), or whether she will be able to recover. She can start helping her chances by immediately displaying a sense of humor about the gaffe.
September 2010 — The Scientist (Magazine): Brad Phillips was quoted in an article called, “Why Trust a Reporter? What science writers are looking for and why it behooves you to answer their calls.”
Tags: In The News
Posted in Mr. Media Training In The News | Please Comment »
This post is unprecedented. But since this is a media training blog, I decided to use my own media relations disaster story as a case study.
Earlier this morning, I released the Top Ten Media Disasters of 2010, my big year-end wrap up of the the worst media gaffes committed by spokespersons this year. I placed the story on a national wire, sent it to my network on Facebook and Twitter, and pitched it to a couple of larger websites.
One of those website was Mediaite, a fast-growing website started by NBC News alum Dan Abrams that boasted two million unique visitors last month. Colby Hall, the Managing Editor of Mediaite, expressed interest in the story, and we agreed that I would allow Mediaite to copy the story onto their own platform, with full attribution to the Mr. Media Training Blog.
Everything was running smoothly until I did a Google search to see the day’s coverage.
To my surprise, Mr. Hall appeared on Shepard Smith’s Fox News Channel program this afternoon to discuss my story. The video of his appearance is here. I was disappointed to see that Fox News had fonted the segment, “Mediaite.com Releases List of 10 Worst Media Disasters,” but gave them the benefit of the doubt that they didn’t know the story’s origin.
But then, to my even greater surprise, Mr. Hall claimed the story as his own. Here’s a portion of the transcript:
Shepard Smith: “How did you pick these?”
Colby Hall: “Uhh, well, there was no shortage of choices. Turns out people said a lot of stupid things in the past year, and the confluence of cable TV and the Internet, we cover every base, so there was no shortage of choices, but we have a lot to choose from.”
Shepard Smith: “Your number five one, this isn’t actually on your site, this isn’t on your website. You picked for us the President giving up the podium for former President Clinton. Why’d you pick that for us and not for your website?”
Colby Hall: “Well, we had done the list before that happened.”
Mr. Hall’s segment ran five minutes. Not once did he – or Fox News – credit this blog. Nor did he — or anyone at Mediaite — have anything to do with choosing the clips in my original story.
I e-mailed him this evening to ask what happened. Below is an excerpt of his response:
“…their producers saw your post and asked to have me speak about it. I had every intention to credit you properly but it was live, and I’m pretty much a novice on TV and I totally spaced. Not an excuse – I just didn’t do it because, well…my mind was racing….I can certainly understand why you’d be frustrated by how that taping went down.”
Sounds reasonable. But then I went back to Mediaite, and saw this story, posted on Mediaite today at 5:34pm. It reads:
“Earlier today, Mediaite Managing Editor Colby Hall appeared on Fox News’ Studio B with Shepard Smith to discuss Mediaite’s Ten Worst Media Disasters of 2010, and after running down the titular list, Smith gave a boost to the site’s street cred. Not only did Smith correctly pronounce the name of our site (unlike Rush Limbaugh), but went on to observe “It’s not like you guys are always wonderful to us, but I always enjoy reading it.”
Reality isn’t always wonderful to them, either, but it is to Fox News’ credit that they aren’t afraid to acknowledge criticism, and still engage with the source of it. Here’s Colby Hall’s appearance on Studio B (from Fox News): (you can read Mediaite’s Ten Worst Media Disasters of 2010 here)
So where did Fox News get the idea that this was Mediaite’s work? Well, from Mediaite itself, which completely eliminated the Mr. Media Training attribution in the follow-up story and claimed it as its own – twice.
UPDATE, 10:50pm: I just spoke with Mr. Hall for half an hour. We have a disagreement regarding the word “re-purpose.” From his perspective, re-purpose meant that my work became a “Mediaite” story. I’ve never heard that from any of the dozens of websites I’ve successfully worked with before. From my perspective, my work remains my intellectual property, requiring attribution on every use.
UPDATE: December 21, 5:59am: I just went back and looked at the original e-mails between me and Mr. Hall. Here are his two e-mails to me, unedited, seeking permission to use my work:
Monday, December 20, 8:02am:
Hi Brad — this is great.
Would you be open to us repurposing this entire post under your byline?
Let me know,
I agreed. At 8:18am, he wrote back, saying:
sure – do you have a bio that I can add to the end?
To be clear, I’d love to repost the entire feature (which is really well done and comprehensive.)
Again, I agreed to allow that.
His first e-mail indicated that repurposing would occur under my byline. The second makes clear that I agreed to allow him to “repost” — not to allow him to take the story and claim it as Mediaite’s original work on a nationally broadcast television news program.
These e-mails may be subject to interpretation, but it seems to me that Mediaite’s use of my material went beyond the agreement we forged.
UPDATE: December 22, 2010, 8:42am: I received an e-mail blast from Mediaite yesterday afternoon, long after my conversation with Mr. Hall. In the tease to one of its stories, Mediaite once again promoted “their” top ten disasters list. That represents the third time in two days that Mediaite used my work without the promised attribution.
Our agreement together called for attribution of my work. I remain disturbed that he used my work, unattributed, to promote his own brand on the Fox News Channel.
I don’t know if I’ll allow Mediaite to use my material in the future. In the meantime, I’d caution other writers to explicitly define the terms of their agreement with Mediaite before proceeding together.
December 22, 2010: 3:35pm: Thank you to the Fox News Channel’s Shepard Smith, who graciously offered an on-air correction this afternoon. Below are his remarks:
“Couple of days ago, we had a segment that aired here on Studio B that listed the top ten media disasters of 2010. Our guest of that day was the Mediaite.com managing editor, Colby Hall. And as we reported, the media disaster list was published on the Mediaite website. What was not reported was that the original source of the content wasn’t Mediaite. Frankly, because I didn’t know that. That was courtesy of Mr. Media Training blog. So there we go. Cleared up.”
That Mr. Smith took time to issue that comment on a busy news day is even more impressive, and speaks to his commitment to accuracy. I offer my sincerest thanks to Mr. Smith and his executive producer, Jay Wallace.
UPDATE: December 22, 2010, 6:17pm: Here’s the write-up of the incident from the New York Observer.
Tags: Colby Hall, Fox News Channel, Mediaite, Shepard Smith
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