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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.

Craig was the focus, not party messages

25 June 2015
Colin Craig’s problem has always been his inability to draw attention away from himself and onto party messages. It’s ironic that what looks set to derail his political career is again personal and not about party policy. So what’s been the problem? Throughout the Election Campaign last year, Craig received his share of publicity, despite not holding a seat in Parliament. But he never managed to turn that publicity to his advantage. A seasoned media savvy politician would have used the...
Filed under Media Skills

How should schools defend uniforms policy?

17 June 2015
If school leaders under scrutiny believe their uniforms policies are justified, they should say why and do it immediately. Every few weeks there seems to be another school in the news for its so-called ‘unreasonable’ uniforms policy. So what should schools do? Firstly, in the digital age, they have to respond almost immediately to media inquiries. Often, as in the puffer jacket case, the story is in social media, and possibly mainstream media, before the school even knows about it. It...

Will James Shaw try to narrow Greens message?

11 June 2015
When it comes to political campaigns, successful parties have a clear message they use to attract votes. National is about responsible economic management and Labour is traditionally focused on giving workers a fair go. But the Greens have two areas. Obviously the environment is one, but left wing economics is just as prominent. That means they can’t focus specifically on one area like other parties. So what should they do? In my view they need to work out whether they are...

Labour's Election Review highlights messaging problem

3 June 2015
Their failure to present a coherent message has rightly received a share of the blame for Labour’s disastrous Election result last year. This is often a major cause of failure in election campaigns, just as it is for individual media interviews. In both situations, it’s vital to narrow down what you want to say to no more than three points. By doing that people understand and remember what you said. It also means that you have far more control over the...

Who should be the new Green Party co-leader?

25 May 2015
The next male co-leader of the Green Party must be the contender with the best media skills. That’s because if the winner can’t get his points across in attractive 10 second sound bites, the party will struggle. The vote will be taken this weekend. Russel Norman’s ability to do this in media interviews was a major reason the party climbed to around 10 percent in the last two elections. Journalists often went to him for comment because they knew he would...

PRINZ Conference, my book and how media training will change

21 May 2015
I’m at the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) Conference in Wellington and just heard former NZ Herald Editor Gavin Ellis present on the future of the news media. It’s an interesting presentation, and touches on some of the points I’m raising in my book, “Media Training for Modern Leaders.” This will be released early next year. Ellis says more people are getting their news from mobile devices, and this trend will continue. He says people will want their news...

Andrew Little improving his sound bites

13 May 2015
Andrew Little is becoming better at getting his points across. He’s doing this by using interesting language that makes these points clearly and briefly. This is exactly want journalists want for their stories. Anyone in a leadership position knows that reporters will only take 10 second snippets of what they say for their edited stories. These clips are known as sound bites. This means the secret to getting your points through media gatekeepers is to make them by using brief and...

Hillary Clinton follows Key in popularity stakes, despite bad publicity

7 May 2015
For the last three months, Hillary Clinton has been the subject of major negative publicity. But instead of dropping in the popularity stakes, she keeps going up. Two issues have been responsible for the bad publicity. These were an email scandal (where she admitted to using her personal email account when Secretary of State) and issues around funding for her foundation. Despite this her approval rating has jumped 9 points in those three months, while another 8 percent think she is...

Ekim Burger rant shows need for crisis communication plan

30 April 2015
The Facebook response from a Wellington Burger business owner to an accusation of food poisoning is exactly why crisis communication plans are so vital these days. It began when a customer sent him a private Facebook message. It began by saying the message was not a complaint. It then said she thought her son had been poisoned by one of his burgers. He then made her message public, and posted an expletive filled update that insulted ‘office jocks’, ‘middle class housewives’...

Key handles Ponytail Gate fallout well

24 April 2015
Responding to an issue like Ponytail Gate can be full of fish hooks for a public figure, but John Key has dealt with it well. He had already apologised to the girl in question before this. Then when the media storm erupted, he admitted he was wrong and had misread the situation. His first response to journalists could have perhaps been a bit more passionate from a body language perspective, but his more recent one was better. His words were: "I'm...
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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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