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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.

What's Labour's Flag message?

3 September 2015
Media Training 101 says that before you front the media on any issue, you organise a message that you want to get across. Labour appears to have failed dismally on this when it comes to the Flag debate. In last year’s election campaign, Labour Leader Andrew Little said the time was right for a vote on the flag. That’s fairly clear. But then as public opposition to the referendum grew, the message appeared to change. Or did it? Little has talked...

What makes Jacinda Ardern popular?

26 August 2015
After a poll ranked Jacinda Ardern as fourth most preferred Prime Minister, the focus of the news appears to be a comment Graham Lowe made about her looks on the Paul Henry Show. But what’s the reason for her popularity? When answering this question, media skills must be at the top of the list. That’s because TV is the only place the vast majority of people ever see her. I believe it’s her ability to express emotion. Whenever she is making...

Is Mike Hosking objective?

20 August 2015
This week’s discussion about the objectivity of Mike Hosking has failed to recognise the two roles he plays. When he interviews people, he is more of a reporter. But when he gives his editorial views, he is more of a commentator. So what does this mean? Hosking as interviewer As an interviewer, I believe he is totally objective. While he may put the counter view to someone he is interviewing, he always gives them a fair chance to express their point....

How good are Donald Trump's media skills?

13 August 2015
Whether you like him or not, Donald Trump has great media skills. That’s why he’s leading the other Republican candidates in the polls. Personally I give him zero chance of winning the Republican nomination for President, but his media skills are why he’s currently leading. So why are his media skills so effective? I put this down to three Cs. Firstly, he is Clear. So many leaders think they need to use intellectual language to impress audiences. Trump doesn’t. He uses...

Are female interviewers different?

7 August 2015
Rachel Smalley makes a great point about the domination of male hosts in prime time radio. She argues that some issues are dealt with differently by women and their approach is needed to balance up the male perspective. She uses Battered Women’s Syndrome and the Gender Pay Gap as two such examples. She has a good point. Smalley made the comment when expressing her disappointment that John Campbell would replace Mary Wilson as host of the Drive Time show on Radio...

Why Colin Craig must sue

30 July 2015
If Colin Craig wants any future in politics, he must follow through with his proposed legal action and win. That’s because the popularity he developed before recent issues arose was based entirely on his perceived integrity and desire for open government. This could be highlighted by the Conservative Party policy of binding referendums. I’ve commented many times on Craig’s inability to deflect media interviews away from ridiculous topics like the moon landing onto his party’s policies. If he could have done...

Phil Rudd and ambush interviews

21 July 2015
If you saw Phil Rudd’s performance outside his house on TV news last night, you will understand how not to act if a camera is thrust in front of you without warning. This is known as an ambush interview and the cameraman is usually accompanied by a reporter asking tough questions. In this case it was a lone cameraman who appeared to ask Rudd how he felt about his day, having been back in court. Rudd lost control. He threatened the...

Chinese surname story may boost Labour, despite publicity

15 July 2015
If there’s one thing political pundits have learnt over the last few years, it’s that negative media coverage of an issue has no automatic impact on public opinion. Before last year’s election, someone watching TV for the first time would be forgiven for thinking National would lose in a landslide. There was huge criticism of John Key, particularly around the GCSB saga. But National won handsomely. Look at the Ponytail gate story this year. It went on for weeks, but again...

Schools need pre-prepared statements to cope with Social Media

7 July 2015
The speed of social media has caught schools out lately, with stories taking on a life of their own before the school can even take a breath. So how can they deal with this? In the Digital Age, the whole focus of crisis communication has changed. While issues like school uniform complaints and rants about the curriculum may not be classed as crises, they can turn into major issues if not addressed quickly. The only answer is to have pre-prepared statements...

Should Winston front up over deputy?

2 July 2015
It was clear on Tuesday that something was happening in NZ First that appeared to be a deputy leadership challenge from Ron Mark. But when asked who the deputy leader was, Winston Peters told reporters he did not comment on Caucus issues. This was a strange response, and raises an interesting point that leaders must confront when approached by media. That issue is ‘what should I hide from journalists?’ In our media training sessions, we always discuss this. My advice is...
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My Latest Blog Posts

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