The 21 Most Essential Media Training Links
Note: This post was updated in January 2016.
I’ve written hundreds of posts since beginning this blog. Many of the posts containing the most critical tips for media spokespersons have gotten buried, so I wanted to post them all in one easy-to-find place.
So, with no further introduction, here are the 21 links I consider to be the most important to budding media spokespersons. I hope you find them useful!
MEDIA GROUND RULES
Why Going Off-The-Record Is a Dumb Idea
Never Call Reporters Back By Their Deadlines
Eight Questions To Ask Before Every Interview
The Right Way To Tell Reporters About Yourself
Why You Shouldn’t Educate Reporters
Always Remember: The Reporter Isn’t Your Audience
How To Avoid Being Misquoted By Reporters
Eight Ways to Deliver a Better Phone Interview
The Three Things To Kill In Your Media Interviews
Seven Ways to Rock Your Next Radio Interview
Ten Things You Need to Know Before Going on Television
Ten Ways to Create Memorable Media Soundbites
Eliminate the Uhhs and Umms (Part One)
Eliminate the Uhhs and Umms (Part Two)
Seven Rules to Remember When a Crisis Strikes
Seven Ways to Respond to a Negative News Story
How To Select The Right Spokesperson In a Crisis
You may also enjoy our video media training tips:
Now that you’ve found our blog, let’s stay in touch! You can read a free preview of The Media Training Bible below.
This truly makes a great collection – did you ever consider making an e-book out of it?
Jasper – thank you for the idea! I’ve been thinking about some kind of e-book, but keep pushing the idea aside since this blog allows me little free time to do other things. But I appreciate your comment, which will push me to make it a priority. Thank you!
Would you mind recommending a media training coach in The Bay Area?
Erica – Please contact me at my office – 212-376-5070. I’d be happy to speak with you about your needs and see if I know a good fit for you.
This collection is greatly helpful. Many thanks for the wonderful job you offer to everyone around the glob.
What a wonderful overview of industry-related ideas Brad. Thanks so much for sharing this useful information with the rest of us.
Really appreciate that nice comment, J.P. I appreciate you visiting the blog and taking the time to write.
I have just discovered your fantastic site! I’m really enjoying exploring it and it is packed with great information – thank you! Can tell me how to train myself to use IFB? I may be needing to use it on a daily basis for on camera work soon and would like to arrive to the studio as prepared as possible. Is there any software or App you know of? Any ideas appreciated! Thank you,
Thank you so much for your kind words – I’m very glad to hear that the blog has been helping you!
We recently wrote about how to use an IFB; I hope you find some valuable tips here: https://www.throughlinegroup.com/2013/05/19/how-to-use-a-teleprompter-and-an-ifb-earpiece/.
There are many apps for teleprompters. If you have an iPad, for example, you might type “iPad teleprompter app” into Google – you’ll see some great options and different price ranges. That said, I generally prefer not using a teleprompter unless necessary. It’s generally better to reduce your text to just a few key “reminder” words, and try to speak as extemporaneously as possible. That will help you sound more natural, and less like you’re reading a formal script to your audience.
Thanks again, and good luck!
In the matter of setting ground rules, I’m concerned about how one deals with hostile interviews. Or those that are benign in intention, but liable to mangle one’s message for other reasons, such as incompetence or serious editing into a miniscule format. What do you think about tactics to protect against misrepresentation or losing control of message to an aggressive and manipulative reporter/interviewer?
The things that occur to me is to request up front for a transcript or possibly the raw video or audio from the interview. I’m often interviewed by email, so I save a complete record — it gives me protection against misrepresentation.
An even more aggressively protective approach is to request the permission to independently record the interview yourself. Consider Ezra Levant’s famous recording of his hearing with the Human Rights Commissioner, turning the issue around on them completely by using the hearing (which was supposed to humiliate and intimidate him) into a public expose of the lawlessness of the court itself and making this private hearing in a small room into a public stage.
More aggressive still would be to do this without asking permission up-front. “What, you don’t like me videotaping? What have you got to hide? Is this an attack interview?” This could be leveraged to negotiate for raw footage in return for putting away one’s own device. If you’ve shown up on set, the journalist has already invested a lot in the interview and may be eager to land the interview, seeing it suddenly in jeopardy.
Here’s a related thing: I know someone who is often aggressively misquoted or edited down to misrepresent his positions. He is generally presented with a release form to sign beforehand, which largely waives a bunch of prerogatives. If he refuses to sign, he loses the interview and doesn’t get any exposure. I told him to make up his own contract (with a legal advisor who is cognizant of media issues) and counter with “i’m happy to sign, if you agree to sign this”, and build in some protective conditions.
Within this domain one can parse an entire spectrum of possible defensive behaviours. Which of them would you consider beyond the pale or really good tactical ideas? Have I missed anything? Would some depend on context and one’s relationship to the journalists in question?
Thank you for your comment and question about how far a spokesperson should go in terms of recording raw audio/video in an interview.
First, I’ve never heard of a news organization asking a spokesperson to sign a consent waiver prior to an interview (with the exception of children 17 or younger). I know entertainment shows use consent forms occasionally for adults, but not major news organizations. I’d love to hear more information about the outlet that’s requesting them, as it seems outside the journalistic norm.
Regarding whether or not you should protectively record an interview with reporters, my answer is “sometimes.” Please see this recent post for more: https://www.throughlinegroup.com/2013/08/29/the-case-for-recording-interviews-with-reporters/. In it, I wrote that:
Except for the most extreme circumstances, I’d be reluctant to begin taping an interview without informing the news organization in advance. First, doing so may be illegal in some states that require two-party consent. Second, doing so could be used against you in the news piece by a journalist painting you as paranoid. Third, in most situations, the goal of media relations is to build a positive, long-term relationship; ambushing the media rarely helps in that effort. (I understand that in your case, that third point may not apply).
Thank you for reading and commenting!
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I just taught at 10 week Media Training course at Ex’Treme Institute by Nelly in St. Louis MO using your book and I must say I LOVED it so much! It was super easy to reference with great jewels of information. I appreciate the brevity whilst including such great insight and wisdom within the pages as well. I definetly recommend the book to anyone wanting to be more aware of MEdia and how to conduct oneself. My students enjoyed it as well. Great job Brad!
Thank you SO much for leaving that nice comment! I remember that your Institute purchased copies of the book in bulk, and I’m delighted to hear that you and the students reacted to it so favorably.
I’m open to any feedback you might have. In the meantime, thank you very much for taking the time to write in with your comment.