One of the biggest errors spokespeople make is giving the journalist way too much control over the interview process. Yes, the reporter gets to ask the questions. But that doesn't mean you should hand over 100% control of the exchange to them. If you do, I guarantee that you will be disappointed with your media coverage over the long term. Instead of asking you to participate in a media interview, imagine the reporter asked you to go on a car ride.Read More
There are a lot of media coaches out there who like to push the idea that reporters are the bad guys. It’s a training approach founded on fear. It’s also (in my opinion) based on a false premise. It’s counterproductive. And it prevents spokespeople from understanding how they should really be approaching media interviews.Read More
Every year, associations spend millions of dollars trying to convince news outlets to cover their stories. The majority of these pitches suffer the same fate: deletion. With a few small changes, however, you can significantly increase your odds of getting a reporter's attention and providing you with the media coverage you're seeking.Read More
This year marks my 20th anniversary of getting into the corporate communications business. But before making the leap into the corporate world, I did work as a journalist for a few months. I was going through some old things recently and found this article, which was the first freelance story I had published after getting my journalism degree. It was published 20 years ago this week in a short-lived newspaper called The Forest City News, based in London, Ontario. It tells the story of a great Canadian who passed away in 1998. And two decades and millions of words later, it's probably my favourite thing I've written to-date...Read More
This usually goes down in one of two ways:
- The moment is finally here. You've pitched, you've pressed, you've cajoled and there you have it. Your first TV interview. Congratulations! Or...
- The moment is finally here. You've been pressured, you've been cajoled and you've contemplated therapy to help you cope with the knots in your gut as you await your first TV interview.
Municipal leaders, particularly mayors, have been in the headlines in Canada this past few years for a wide variety of reasons - some positive and others, well, not so much. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has to take the prize for the sheer amount of media coverage, but virtually all of that media coverage was negative. Michael Applebaum resigned as ...Read More
Just in case you're not completely sick of year-end or top 10 lists yet, here's a quick rundown of The Art of the Great Media Interview's top 10 posts of the past year based on numbers of web views and social sharing stats:Read More
I received a tweet yesterday from @AntoineSarpong in the PR program at Centennial College asking for advice for PR and communications grads. Getting that first job in your chosen profession can be a big source of anxiety. I wanted to reply with something a bit longer than 140 characters. So here, in good old long form, is my advice for the PR and corporate communications grads of 2013:Read More
Rob Ford and his brother Doug launched an ambitious media blitz last week to hit back at critics. But how effective was their strategy? I had a chance to chat with Elissa Freeman of Canada.com a few days ago to give her my two cents about Rob Ford's PR strategy (or lack thereof). Other PR folks who weighed in with their opinions were Jodi Echakowitz of Echo Communications and Diana Conconi.
You can read the article here. Thanks to Elissa and Canada.com for asking me to participate.Read More
Thanks to the six-month long Crackgate scandal and the ensuing media coverage Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is one of the most recognizable people in the world. Ford has become a running segment on The Daily Show. He's been ridiculed by David Letterman, Jay Leno, the Jimmies (Kimmel and Fallon), Howard Stern and Saturday Night Live. It seems like the whole world is talking about Toronto's mayor. But is there an objective way to see how big the Rob Ford story really is?Read More
Another day, another media circus around Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. CBC reporter Steven D'Souza just posted this Vine video of one of the Mayor's aides physically shoving reporters out of the way. As you can see from the video, this is pretty aggressive stuff. D'Souza said in a later tweet that the shoving was much worse inside the office area.Read More
Mayor Rob Ford is (once again) dominating news headlines after Toronto Police announced they have a copy of the infamous cellphone video from last May. But just how big is the Rob Ford story? To give you an idea, here's a Google Trends comparison of worldwide news search volumes over the past 30 days. To put the media attention around the Rob Ford story in context, I wanted to compare search volumes around other big names in the news this month...Read More
A little over five months. In the end, that's how much time Toronto Mayor was able to buy himself by stonewalling the media when faced with accusations of appearing in a video smoking a crack pipe.
Ford was swarmed relentlessly by the media for weeks last spring. At his home. At his office. At official events. His response was to ignore their questions. His most fulsome statement, made on May 24, 2013, one week after the allegations first surfaced, included the following quote: "Number one, there's no video, so that's all I can say. I can't comment on something that doesn't exist."Read More
"Is it okay to ask the reporter to send me their list of questions before the interview?"
I get this question at least once a week. And the answer I give is a qualified "no".
I get the impulse to want to ask the reporter for a nice list of all the questions they're going to ask you. After all, you want the interview (and resulting story) to be a success. You want to give yourself an edge. To have an early warning system for any potential surprises. Here's the problem: Getting the reporter's questions in advance is really a false security blanket that can cause more problems than it solves...Read More
It's a textbook example of the importance of making time to prepare for your media interviews. Australian politician Jaymes Diaz was recently being interviewed by TV reporter John Hill when he was asked about his plan for addressing illegal migrants entering Australia by boat. Diaz cites his party's "...six point plan to make sure that we do stop the boats". When the journalist prompts Diaz for details, however, the politician is unable to recall even a single point.Read More
It's been nearly a month since the deadly train disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, which claimed the lives of 47 people and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. Several days after the deadly derailment occurred, Edward Burkhardt, chairman of Montreal, Maine & Atlantic, the train company involved in the crash, held an impromptu press conference in the town. Burkhardt was widely criticized by communicators, the media and the public for what appeared to be a completely tone deaf and insensitive response to the unfolding crisis. So when the CBC interviewed Burkhardt on July 31, listeners might have assumed the railway executive would have undergone extensive media training and that he be able to demonstrate some level of sympathy, regret and a commitment to get to the bottom of what caused the disaster to help prevent something like this from happening in the future.Read More
As communications director to Anthony Weiner, Barbara Morgan was probably secretly awaiting some controversial gaffe by a public figure that would distract the media's attention from her serial sexting employer. Well, mission accomplished. The problem (for Morgan, at least) was that she, herself, was the source of the controversial distraction. While reacting to news that a former intern had written a disparaging article about Weiner and his mayoral campaign in the New York Daily News, Morgan launched into a hard-core, foul-mouthed tirade about the former intern while speaking to a reporter...Read More
For the second time in just over two years, Anthony Weiner, the former New York congressman and NYC mayoral hopeful, held a press conference apologizing for sending explicit photos to women over the Internet. In 2011, his indiscretions forced him to resign from Congress. This time, however, Weiner says he isn't going anywhere and will remain in the race for mayor of New York City. But will the voting public let Weiner (and his alter-ego, 'Carlos Danger') off the hook yet again? Using Twitter as a barometer to gauge the public's reaction to Weinergate-2, early indications suggest the serial sexter's luck may be running out...Read More