Presentation on theme: "Media Training Kelli Gauthier, communications director Tennessee Department of Education."— Presentation transcript:
Media Training Kelli Gauthier, communications director Tennessee Department of Education
The bulk of this presentation has been generously provided by the Glover Park Group, a strategic communications firm based in Washington, D.C. 2
Working with the media Is necessary, not optional. Is an opportunity, not a threat. Requires preparation; everyone needs it. Is about control; know the rules. Message matters. Know what you want to say.
The good news and the bad news 4 By following simple rules, you can be effective in any media engagement. There are more platforms from which to communicate your message You can target your message to specific audiences. Todays’ media is increasingly rushed, ill-informed and simplistic. Journalists tend to gravitate toward controversy, conflict and bad news. Our news environment is more cluttered than ever.
Media engagement 5 You want something from them. They want something from you. It will not always be the same thing.
Media engagement 6 What they want from you could be … Breaking news or new information Conflict Story premise confirmation or validation A specific quote to fill a gap in their story Information, context or just an explanation
Media engagement 7 What you want from them … An opportunity to deliver your message
Media tips 8 Know your media landscape What types of media outlets exist in your district? What does coverage of education issues typically look like? Who are they key reporters? Do they have any relationship with your district? What advantages exist for your district as a result of the current media landscape and headlines?
Media preparation 9 Ask the right questions — not all press is good press. Before saying yes, make sure the interview serves your purpose: Will the interview get you in front of your target audience? Will it give you a chance to tell your story?
Preparation equals control 10 Ensuring success starts before the interview. Q: What’s the worst mistake you can make? A: Simply answering a reporter’s question as soon as it is asked. Q: What’s the best thing you can do to control the interview? A: Prepare.
What you control vs. what they control 11 The Reporter’s Advantages They ask the questions They write the story They control the placement Your advantages You decided whether or not to do the interview. You often control the time and length of the interview. You can often set ground rules on how the interview is used You are the subject matter expert You decide what to say and how to say it.
Be prepared to adapt 12 Reporters are not always forthcoming with their motives. No matter how much you prepare, the interview may not go exactly as you planned. Stay nimble and stick to your key messages. Know what you don’t know. It’s OK not to answer every question.
Media tips 13 Know the reporter Review past media coverage and interviews. Know the reporter’s perspective. Know his or her key audiences. Think about what he or she will likely ask. Consider what the hardest questions will be. Conduct a pre-call to glean as much information about the story as you can.
Making the question work for you 14 Pivot to your message: I can’t answer that question, but what I do know is…” Flag key points: The most important thing for people to know is…” With answers, bridge to your message: (very short answer to question), and in addition, it’s important to note that…”
Pitfalls to avoid 15 DON’T: Repeat the negative. Answer questions based on speculation or hypothetical situations. Say, “don’t quote me on that.” Unnecessarily criticize the competition.
A successful message is: 16 TimelyRelevant Consistent with your overall brand About something bigger than your interests
Be disciplined 17 Be brief. Today, the average sound bite is 5.9 seconds and shrinking. Know what you want to say. Have 2-3 messages you absolutely want to get across, no matter what questions are asked. Be comfortable with silence. Know when to stop. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Universal tips 18 Arrive on time. Everything communicates. Dress the role and be aware of your body language. Project confidence; it adds to your credibility. Keep it simple. Use clear language and avoid jargon. Be focused. Give your undivided attention. Speak with enthusiasm and conviction.
Television 19 Short The standard length of a TV story ranges from 1:30 to 1:45 Your message must be brief, concise and to the point. Dramatic Newscast placement is often determined by how powerful/dramatic the piece is (not necessarily by newsworthiness). Reporters will gravitate to the issues or parts of the interview that are new, dramatic or surprising. TV news is a visually driven media format. Shallow Most news stories have no time for in-depth detail, background or rambling explanations To get on air, the story must be distilled to its very essence.
Television 20 Taped interviews Use declarative, on-message sentences to answer every question. You may be asked the same question several times— remember to repeat your message. If you make a mistake, begin again and clearly state your message.
Television 21 Live interviews Expect a pre-interview. You’re more in control of what goes on air. Reporters can surprise you with unexpected questions. Look at the interviewer, not the camera.
Radio 22 Speak clearly and slowly. Even though you’re on radio, use hand gestures to sound more animated. Illustrate your points with an anecdote. In a phone interview: Always use a landline. Never use a cell phone or headset. Have a copy of your key messages in front of you. Make sure you are in a noise-free environment.
Print 23 Prepare a list of possible tough questions you may encounter, as well as the best answers. Stick to what you know. If you do not know the answer to a question or you are not comfortable answering, tell the reporter you do not know but will get back to them. Take leeway to talk longer and more substantively. However, this does not give you license to ramble. Educate the reporter, but be sure to provide 1 or 2 pithy, quotable sentences. Offer to help on other topics and stories. Building a relationship can be as useful to you as it can to the reporter.