Media Training NZ Blog

Media advice for underdog Mayoral candidates

20 April 2016
If non-high profile Mayoral candidates want any chance of winning their races this year, they need to become aggressive publicity hounds with a message to tell. If they don’t do this, they have no chance. What should they do? Firstly, they need to be proactive with the news media. This doesn’t mean just being available when a reporter wants to interview you, its about presenting that reporter with a carrot that’s too irresistible to ignore. Here’s an example. Before I continue...

Key still creating great sound bites

14 April 2016
John Key is still a great media communicator. Not only is this because of his effective body language, but also the words he uses to communicate what he wants to get across. Media training specialists all tell their clients to focus on key messages when they are talking to the news media. But the expert spokespeople take this a step further. How? They dress these points into more interesting language. This means reporters are far more likely to use them as...

Clark would win hands down if it came down to communication skills

5 April 2016
Clark’s communication skills would see her win hands down If the campaign to become UN Secretary General was like any other, Helen Clark’s communication skills would get her across the line comfortably. We saw these skills for nine years, while others have now seen them in her current UN role. So what are they? Clark has a unique ability to get her points across briefly, clearly and in an interesting way. We all witnessed this on television when she was Prime...

How should MPs use social media?

31 March 2016
Social media gives MPs a huge opportunity to attract positive attention in mainstream media, but so many seem to hit the headlines for the wrong reasons after posting thoughtless updates. This week it was Labour’s Sue Moroney after offending the owner of a ‘flashy beach house’ who had not removed the alternative flag following the referendum. She was followed by Metiria Turei who posted that, ‘Me and my mate hooning in the car on a low-alcohol cider,’ followed by the hashtag...

Wicked Campers asleep at the wheel

22 March 2016
The owners of Wicked Campers are making a huge mistake by refusing media interviews on the publicity around their van slogans. All they are doing is giving all the limelight to their detractors and failing to even state their point of view. Meanwhile, more and more camping grounds in New Zealand will turn them away. The sight of their vans will be bad for their own reputations. Clearly Wicked Campers target a specific group of people. On their website they say...

Jacinda Ardern's criticism of MediaWorks - My take

17 March 2016
You may have seen Jacinda Ardern’s open letter to MediaWorks CEO Mark Weldon earlier this week where she criticised the movement away from hard news and current affairs to less important stories that got more website clicks. She has a point, but news organisations are always going to focus on material that their audience wants, rather than what some would say are “more important issues.” What can be done about this? In a nutshell, media spokespeople have to be more interesting....

Labour's Flag mistake

9 March 2016
Labour’s decision to turn the flag referendum into a political issue has done the party no favours with voters or Andrew Little’s standing as a future Prime Minister. If Labour were really opposed to a new flag, fair enough. That’s their right and the role of an opposition party. But it does appear they changed their stance when they thought it might be more popular to oppose it and brand it a ‘vanity project for John Key.’ After all, a review...

John Palino's media mistake

2 March 2016
Auckland Mayoral hopeful John Palino made a critical media mistake after his last bid for the job three years ago. When the whole Len Brown affair became public and people questioned his role in bringing it to people’s attention, he went to ground. He was in Melbourne, issued a few brief press releases denying involvement and turned off his cell phone, meaning reporters couldn’t contact him. Palino has always had a clear message on this. He did meet Bevan Chuang in...

Labour's personal stories approach a good start

24 February 2016
The decision by Labour MPs to tell personal stories to highlight their new ‘Kiwi Dream’ message is a good idea, but more needs to be done. The use of personal stories is by far the best way to get a point across to live audiences. It’s also good with media, but must be far briefer in this format. Very few leaders use personal stories in live presentations, but prefer to list point after point after point. This is not only boring,...

Sex toys, Joyce, Little and the media

17 February 2016
This week’s saga about Steven Joyce’s coverage on John Oliver’s show in the US raises an important point about public figures using humour in the media. It can be risky for politicians to use humour purely because what’s funny to one person can be highly offensive to someone else. Who can forget John Key’s comment last year when he was asked if he would mention to the Chilean President that prison escaper Phillip Smith was in town. He said he would...
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