Why Anyone Can Benefit From Media Training
When asked what media training is, most people will say it’s for people who give a lot of media interviews. While correct, the more complete answer is that media training can help expand many communications skills. In the following video, Senior Vice President Al Upchurch talks about the value of media training for media interviews and beyond. Upchurch has 20 years of experience as a television news producer and manager, and 12 years of experience working on media relations and crisis communication initiatives for a variety of organizations.
Here are five rules you should always adhere to when working with a reporter.
- Determine what the story is. When reporter calls ask what is the essence of your story? Why do you wish to speak with me? Who else will you be talking to for this story? Get as much information as you can. It may help you formulate the answers to the reporter’s questions.
- Request the questions in advance. Large newspapers and network TV won’t provide them, but smaller news organizations often will share the questions with you prior to the interview.
- Wait before interviewing. Do not answer questions when the reporter first calls. Tell her you can do it later. This gives you time to prepare some key messages you want to be sure you use during the interview. And stick to those key messages, especially when you get a questions you cannot or do not want to answer.
- Limit the interview time. If you agree to an interview limit it to a 15 or 20 minute window. Reporters will often monopolize your time and fish for information unrelated to the topic you agreed to discuss.
- Nothing is “off the record”. Make it standard practice that you will never go “off the record”. This is a murky area with many reporters, each with a different view of what it means. So here’s the rule. Nothing is off the record in the presence of a reporter. Finally, you may want to consider utilizing the services of a good public relations firm. They not only act as a buffer between you and the reporter, but those firms with good relationships with members of the media can often help insure a more positive outcome or story.
At Marx Layne, we have conducted media training for Fortune 500 companies throughout the United States. It’s a big part of what we do. Check back for more media training tips in the weeks ahead.
In today’s fast-paced business environment it’s imperative for executives to know how to work with the news media. The news cycle is 24/7/365 and organizations need to be ready for the unexpected. In minutes a story is accessible worldwide on the internet. Knowing how to respond to the media properly is a crucial leadership skill and can often make the difference between success or failure, profit or loss, credibility or loss of reputation.
The Marx Layne media training team helps you define and deliver your key messages. We work with clients to identify, plan and polish messaging. We then help perfect the delivery so that the message is communicated clearly and concisely.
Our media training professionals are former print and broadcast journalists. They possess a proven track record of guiding senior managers through the techniques and disciplines needed for effectiveness in any interview situation. Our team constructs exacting, personalized scenarios that are relevant to the issues facing your organization and utilizes professional video and audio technology to prepare for virtually any media situation.
At Marx Layne, creating effective communications is what we do. For nearly 30 years, key management at Fortune 500 companies, large non-profit organizations, and leading law firms and litigators have retained our agency for media training sessions that demonstrate the importance of message development and confident interaction with the media.