Pete Burdon

Pete is a leading New Zealand media trainer and regular blogger for his company, Media Training NZ . He has helped leaders from all sectors of society communicate with the media and other stakeholders. Pete is a former daily newspaper reporter and press secretary in the New Zealand government. From these roles, he understands the media process from both sides of the camera.

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...

Should Fekitoa have gone public?

11 February 2016
Should Malakai Fekitoa have shared his anger problem with his 173000 Instagram followers? Opinion is mixed. There is no blanket rule on this, but a number of things must be taken into account before deciding what to do. The place where it should be the only option is as a pre-emptive strike. I’m not suggesting that is why Fekitoa did it, but if you think someone will go public against you, you’re best to get on the front foot and release...

Are Greens and Labour changing party messages?

4 February 2016
The Greens appear to be moving into the centre of politics while Labour take a step to the left if recent comments and policy announcements are any indication. All political parties need a clear and simple message to communicate when it comes to elections. The theme of their message should be reflected by their policies. National is always focused on the economy and claims itself the most responsible economic manager. This is why so many of John Key’s speeches are focused...

State of the Nation and media coverage

28 January 2016
The content of John Key’s State of the Nation speech highlights an important point when it comes to presentations attended by the media. How many times have you attended a speech by a respected leader, only to find it a complete bore and you remember little, if any of the content. This is usually because most people try to cram as much information into their speaking slot as possible, often spending more time focused on their PowerPoint slides than the audience....
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My Latest Blog Posts

28 April 2022
Luxon's tax question problem and possible answer
3 February 2022
Christopher Luxon on the money with 'caring' comment
16 December 2021
Why Greg Foran is my Media Communicator of the Year

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