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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.

Key comments raise important media training consideration

18 April 2013
The one thing our media training clients fear the most is having a reporter appear from nowhere and fire questions at them with a TV camera rolling. It could be on their way to work, an ambush outside their house, or a number of other scenarios. Our media training advice is always to keep calm, tell them you are happy to talk, but are off to a meeting so you can’t talk now. That footage would be too boring to use,...

Key steps into common media training trap

11 April 2013
John Key’s response to a question about the likelihood of New Zealand coming to the aid of South Korea in any potential war with the north saw the PM fall into a common media training trap. When the question was put to him by TV3s Patrick Gower, Key said: "I wouldn't want to speculate, but obviously we have got a long and proud history of coming to the support of South Korea. Taken to the extreme, and without interventions and resolutions...

Key's recent body language highlights vital media training point

4 April 2013
John Key is usually an expert when it comes to dealing with journalists. But his handling of the GCSB issue over recent days has highlighted a media training weakness that is usually one of his major strengths. We tell our media training clients that 93 percent of what people take away from a TV interview is the body language and tone of voice, not the words spoken. This comes from research conducted a few decades ago. I believe one of the...

School Closure story highlights media training point

28 March 2013
An item on Campbell Live earlier this week bought up a media training tip that can be valuable when the focus of a story is clearly going to be against you. The story focused on Salisbury School for Intellectually Disabled Girls in Nelson. The High Court had earlier ruled that the Ministry of Education plan to close the school was illegal. The story angle was that the Ministry was effectively “closing the school in disguise”. I don’t wish to take sides...

Bethlehem College saga highlights important media training point

22 March 2013
Following the Bethlehem College developments from a media training perspective over the last few months, I can’t help by liken it to the Tiger Woods saga. By doing this, I in no way link the issues on a moral or seriousness basis. The media training link is that in both situations, those involved let the stories drag on and on by not releasing the full facts from day one. If Woods had fronted up as soon as his infidelity became public...

Solid Energy uses clever media training tactic

15 March 2013
While Solid Energy should have fronted up to media interviews to defend itself against major criticism over the last few weeks, it has used a clever media training tactic during and around the appearance of former CEO Don Elder at this week’s Select Committee. We always tell our media training clients to have clear messages, whether for a media interview or any other appearance. But it’s also important to take this a step further and dress these points up in language...

Tree Adventures death highlights important media training point

7 March 2013
The unfortunate death at Tree Adventures earlier this week brings up an important media training consideration. When the news broke and journalists were all searching for sources, they could not get to speak to anyone from the company. Understandably, the New Zealand-based director was devastated, and was probably busy with investigators. But from a media training perspective, it meant that journalists had to go hunting for other sources. This was when they found witnesses who said safety was slack and the...

Jetstar makes serious media training mistake

2 March 2013
Jetstar’s media response to its failure to transfer the flight booking of shark attack victim Adam Strange’s mother days after his death is a perfect example of why media training is so important for business leaders. The company is no stranger to bad publicity, but its failure to deal properly with the media doesn't help its cause. In situations like this, we tell our media training clients that the boss must front up to media. This is because a company can...

Media Training advice for Talent2 boss

21 February 2013
Talent2 boss John Rawlinson broke all the media training rules about how to deal with ambush interviews when approached by Campbell Live’s John Selwood at his home in Melbourne on Sunday. Ambush interviews are when the media turn up unannounced and fire questions at you with the camera rolling. Firstly, when Rawlinson saw the TV crew, he heavily criticised Selwood for camping at his gate, saying it was Sunday and he was busy. The anger was obvious in his voice. This...

Media training advice for Coca Cola

15 February 2013
Coca Cola has made some serious media training mistakes by strongly condemning the likelihood that the death of an Invercargill woman had anything to do with her 10 litre a day coke habit. It would be fairly obvious to most people that this must have contributed. But by taking a defensive position and expressing its disappointment that the Judge made the link between the death and Coke, the company has done itself no favours. It looks insensitive and as if it...
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My Latest Blog Posts

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3 February 2022
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16 December 2021
Why Greg Foran is my Media Communicator of the Year
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