Media Training NZ Blog

The real problem with Melania Trump's speech

20 July 2016
The focus of publicity around Melania Trump’s speech has been all about possible plagiarism, but I saw another major problem with it that’s just as serious. This was a great opportunity for her to tell us about Donald Trump ‘the man’. Many see him as a ruthless businessman who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. They see him as harsh and self-centred. The message in Melania’s speech should have been to challenge this perception. She did touch on...

Helen Clark aces debate

14 July 2016
Helen Clark had clearly prepared well for yesterday’s UN Secretary General debate. She had a clear message and was ready for every question asked of her. This is why, in my opinion, she was the best of all 10 participants. What was her message? She consistently focused on two areas. Her first was the need for the UN to improve in the area of peace and security. This would be her most pressing issue if she gets the job. Clark referred...

Labour must narrow its message

8 July 2016
One of the big mistakes Labour made at the last Election was to focus on too many issues. When any campaign tries to cover more than a few core things, people remember none of them. Labour also need an over-riding theme that the key points all address. Lately, the party seems to be improving its messaging strategy, but the focus is still too broad. Their over-riding message seems to be about ‘backing the Kiwi Dream’. That’s ok, but a bit abstract....

Australian Labour's risky message

1 July 2016
News of tomorrow’s Australian General Election has been almost non-existent in the New Zealand media as so many other things have dominated the headlines this week. One thing to stand out over the Tasman has been the campaign messages used by both parties. The Liberal/Nationals Coalition have been predictable with their focus on responsible economic management and the need for stability in the years ahead. This is the focus the New Zealand National Party always takes. What is unique is the...

Media tips for school leaders

23 June 2016
Schools are getting more and more media attention these days with a growing number of controversial issues to deal with. Over the past week we’ve seen school uniform policy complaints, serious bullying, cyber bullying, sexual misconduct and anger at girls being told their skirts are to short. It’s a tough job being a school principal without the added threat of negative media scrutiny. That scrutiny often carries on for days afterwards on social media. So what should school leaders do? The...

Maureen Pugh and personal opinion in media

16 June 2016
National MP Maureen Pugh’s change of position on the vaccination of children raises an important point for media spokespeople when it comes to offering personal opinions. In an interview last week Ms Pugh said the decision to vaccinate should be a personal choice of parents, but soon after issued a statement encouraging all parents to vaccinate against potentially life-threatening diseases. The initial comment got Ms Pugh into trouble because the government want all 8-month-olds fully vaccinated. So what should you do...

Labour getting the message about their message?

10 June 2016
Labour’s big problem over recent years is its failure to come up with a clear and concise message to focus on consistently. National are the masters of this. John Key and his ministers always bring things back to the need for a strong economy, and go into Elections with their core message that their stewardship of the economy is what will maintain or grow people’s standard of living. New Zealand First are about putting kiwi citizens ahead of foreign interests, while...

Greens deal will further dilute Labour's message

1 June 2016
The Labour Party has struggled to produce a concise message that explains what it stands for since Helen Clark left office in 2008. This is a major reason it has done so badly ever since. This new deal with the Green Party will make it even harder to tell voters what it stands for. Labour Parties have traditionally been focused on the rights of workers and on the left side of politics. But this changed in the 1980s when it moved...

Best opposition Budget quotes

27 May 2016
Most comment on the Budget has been predictable and quite boring, but the leaders of the opposition parties did at least have a few interesting quotes/sound bites between them. In this day and age, it’s no longer enough to make an interesting point. You have to dress it up in an interesting way so the news media will use it and people will remember it. Here are what I consider the best ones from opposition leaders. Andrew Little: “This is very...

Steven Adams and 'Quick Little Monkeys'

18 May 2016
I don’t believe for a minute that Steven Adams meant any harm when he described Golden State’s guards as ‘quick little monkeys’, but it raises two important points about media interviews. Firstly are the obvious cultural differences. What means one thing to one culture or country can mean something totally different in another. The term ‘monkey’ is associated with racism in the US, but not in New Zealand. These differences are common, even among similar countries. I still remember an incident...
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