Media Training NZ Blog

Pacific spying, John Key and the media

5 March 2015
How well has John Key dealt with the media over Nicky Hager’s announcement about the GCSB spying on our Pacific neighbours? In my opinion, about as well as possible. Firstly, the decision to publicly deny any wrong-doing before Hager released his story was a good PR move. Why? Because this allowed him to get on the front foot and get his side of the story out before Hager hogged the headlines. This is something we discuss with our media training clients....

Apology media statement and that X Factor contestant

26 February 2015
Media statements that show empathy to victims are extremely sensitive, and are usually heavily vetted by lawyers before they are released. The statement issued by Media Works over the last 24 hours appears to be no different. It was released after a mother’s distress at seeing the man convicted of her son’s manslaughter (Shae Brider) tell his ‘selective version’ of the tragic incident. This was when he appeared on X Factor earlier this week. Firstly, good on Media Works for responding....

Little should not antagonise media

19 February 2015
There’s an old saying that says: “Never do battle with anyone who buys ink by the barrel.” In other words, don’t pick fights with journalists because they have the ability to spin stories in their favour. This doesn’t mean they will always write negative stories about someone they don’t like, but good relationships with journalists are important for political leaders and can affect the nature of some coverage. This is something Andrew Little needs to think about. Firstly, his failure to...

Key's SkyCity comment highlights need for consistent message

12 February 2015
John Key fell into a classic media trap yesterday with his comment that the new International Convention Centre could look like an Eyesore if more money is not found. It showed how important it is to stay on message and make sure that all spokespeople are singing from the same song sheet. The first mistake was not coordinating a consistent message with others who would be asked to comment on the issue. Bill English and Steven Joyce were saying that contributing...

Norman exit will hand Little more media coverage

5 February 2015
The honeymoon continues for Labour Leader Andrew Little as a major competitor for media attention has now moved aside. During the last two electoral terms, Russel Norman often took the media limelight at the expense of Labour when it came to attacking National Party policy. This is a role usually filled by the leader of the strongest opposition party. Norman pulled this off for two reasons. Firstly, he was better than consecutive Labour Leaders at giving the media the sound bites...

State Of The Nation lesson for leaders

29 January 2015
Most leaders make one fatal mistake when they present to groups of stakeholders, whether they be a public audience in a large hall, media interview or a small group in a boardroom. They try to cover far too many points. This is something John Key, Andrew Little and their advisors understand well. This was evident in both State Of The Nation speeches yesterday. Key focused solely on housing, while Little concentrated on the need to create jobs and the importance of...

My best quote of 2014

23 January 2015
The recent Massey University ‘Quote of 2014 Competition’ showed some interesting results. Obviously voters chose the ones they liked the most, with almost all having an element of humour in them. But does this make them good quotes? That depends. The whole reason for spokespeople using interesting quotes should be to make a point in a way that journalists will use and audiences will remember. If this criteria is used to determine the best quotes of 2014, some of those chosen...

My top media training tip for 2015

14 January 2015
It’s a simple tip but one not many people employ when preparing for media interviews. You must practice your interview on video until you are satisfied. That doesn’t mean a quick run-through with someone firing a few questions at you. It means you should repeat the mock interview until you have passed two tests. The first is that you look confident and relaxed. That’s obviously more for television. But the next test is critical for all media formats, particularly if it’s...

Media interview tips for sportspeople

8 January 2015
At this time of the year the media focus moves away from the boardroom and onto the sports field. That makes it a good time to look at the needs of our elite players when it comes to media interviews. The first tip I would give them is to look at the interviewer when answering questions. Many don’t do this, but it’s important. That’s because you can seem disinterested to the viewer at home if you are not making eye contact...

Why Paula Bennett is my media communicator of 2014

31 December 2014
The reason Paula Bennett is such a good media communicator is her ability to come across as genuine and empathetic. Where she stands out is her ability to accept the emotions and feelings of others, even if she doesn’t agree with their viewpoint. For example, opposition MPs often say there is too much poverty in New Zealand and the minimum wage must rise to turn this around. When interviewed on this, Bennett disagrees that the wage should rise. But the key...
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