Your media interview doesn't start when the reporter asks their first question. It starts the moment the phone rings, the moment you walk into their building or the moment they walk into yours. And the interview isn't over when they say thank you and ask you how to spell your name. It's over when you've hung up the phone (and confirmed that you've hung up), when you leave their building and hear the door click behind you or when you see the journalist driving off into the distance... This unguarded, 'hot mic' moment of Sainsbury CEO Mike Coupe singing 'We're in the Money' is now part of his professional legacy. And it was totally preventable.
The #1 most common mistake that people make in their media interviews? Repeating the negative language that reporters often use in their questions. If you pay attention, you'll find quotes like these in most news stories, whether it's in print, radio or TV. Why is it such a serious mistake? Because you end up telling your story using someone else's words and, in many cases, they're negative, controversial words you would never use to tell that story. If you can kick this habit, you'll be well on your way to better media coverage.
Apparently the new White House Communications Director doesn't understand how journalism works. Here's a quick primer:
- If you're talking to a reporter, that's an interview.
- Anything you say during an interview can be used by the reporter (unless you clarify and agree in advance that something is either 'background' or 'off the...
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
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
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
What is the deal with Canada's mayors? There's the crack video allegations swirling about Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. The resignation of Laval Mayor Alexandre Duplessis after being linked to a sex scandal. (Oh, and Mr. Duplessis was appointed after Laval's former mayor was forced out of office because of corruption allegations). Then there's the resignation of Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum, who faces charges involving fraud, conspiracy and corruption...Read More
Fox reporter Lindsay Nadrich isn't having the best week. Nadrich, a TV journalist in Spokane, Washington, recently did a segment about picking strawberries in the rain. What the viewers at home saw was the reporter speaking on camera, stumbling over a few words and then making light of the flub by dropping a few f-bombs...Read More
As human beings, most of us are fortunate enough to possess a finely-tuned survival instinct, honed by millions of years of evolution. You might think these awesome skills are wasted in a world without dinosaurs and sabre-toothed tigers. On the contrary. Even in the corporate world...Read More
Last week, we posted the top 5 risks of using Twitter, one of which was 'tone deafness'. There's a great example of this today. As the public tries to make sense of the horrible shooting in Colorado last night in which 12 people were killed, American Rifleman (the official journal of the National Rifle Association) apparently sent out the following tweet this morning at 9:20 am:
A quick check of the journal's Twitter page shows the tweet has since been removed. Someone at the organization likely deleted the tweet once they started getting inundated with retweets, negative comments from the public and critical news stories. But not before someone got a screen cap of it.
Here's just a sample of the backlash they're currently facing on Twitter:
Update: It appears the NRA has now gone beyond deleting the offensive tweet and has deleted the twitter account in question altogether. Talk about handling the situation the absolute wrong way in a social media world.Read More
When news breaks, media organizations race to inform their readers, viewers and listeners. But sometimes, the frantic scramble to report the news can take a toll on the quality and accuracy of the reporting. A cringe-worthy example is unfolding today...Read More
Rob Ford is on his way to becoming a one-term mayor. And one of the biggest reasons he'll lose any future election bid is his staggeringly awful handing of the media. Mayor Ford has shown on numerous occasions that he has little time or respect for the media (outside...Read More
Last November, Christine O'Donnell gave late-night talk show hosts a gift in her 'response to accusations of witchcraft' TV spot. Yesterday, she reinforced her inability to handle the media by walking out of an on-camera interview with CNN's Piers Morgan...Read More
It seems the Mayor of Orillia, a city here in Ontario, has had enough of those bothersome phone calls from the media. Mayor Angelo Orsi announced yesterday that he is no longer accepting phone calls from the media. A memo from the mayor's office to the media stated that "all media questions are required to be in writing and e-mailed to Orsi". His rationale for the move? "This approach helps me keep track...Read More
The Lesson: There are two lessons here. The first one relates to the 1999 interview in which she referred to "dabbling into witchcraft". Even if you don't aspire to hold public office one day, this probably isn't the kind of life experience to bring up in a network TV interview. The other lesson is about not repeating negative language. The TV ad would have been more effective (or at least less damaging) without the phrase "I'm not a witch." Even though she's refuting the claim, her statement has the opposite effect, serving as fodder for her opponents, critics and the media. In the end, O'Donnell lost her election bid.
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