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.

Trump team fail Media Training 101

18 August 2016
You would expect a presidential candidate and team to understand exactly how the news media works, but Trump and his team have shown a serious lack of knowledge this week. In an interview with the Washington Post, Trump’s campaign Chairman Paul Manafort shows his misunderstanding of how a media interview works. The focus of the interview was how Trump has been moving away from his core message of national security, law and order and the economy lately. The response from Manafort...

Media interview tips for Olympic Athletes

9 August 2016
Over the next few weeks, we’ll see some great media interviews with winning athletes. But equally, there will be those that are about as boring as watching grass grow. Journalists can only do so much to get interesting material from their interviewees. It’s up to the athletes to make it interesting. So what should they do? Even if they have a matter of minutes before they speak to a reporter after a race, they need to think of something interesting to...

Maori Party snub of Clark a clever move

4 August 2016
Despite claims that their decision not to back Helen Clark for the UN job was unpatriotic, the Maori Party’s decision was a clever move that reinforced their standing in New Zealand politics. Whether it be a media interview, political campaign, or the entire reason a political party exists, there needs to be a consistent message. The lack of one recently is a major reason why labour languishes in opinion polls. But the Maori Party has always been clear. It stands for...

Trump's biggest test still ahead

27 July 2016
He may be the master of the sound bite and know exactly how to attract the attention of the news media, but soon Donald Trump will need more than that. In my media training sessions, two key areas are the importance of having your own message and knowing how to answer difficult questions. Trump has a pretty clear message. The overall message of “We’ll make America great again” is pretty abstract, but he does back it up with some fairly concrete...

The real problem with Melania Trump's speech

20 July 2016
The focus of publicity around Melania Trump’s speech has been all about possible plagiarism, but I saw another major problem with it that’s just as serious. This was a great opportunity for her to tell us about Donald Trump ‘the man’. Many see him as a ruthless businessman who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. They see him as harsh and self-centred. The message in Melania’s speech should have been to challenge this perception. She did touch on...

Helen Clark aces debate

14 July 2016
Helen Clark had clearly prepared well for yesterday’s UN Secretary General debate. She had a clear message and was ready for every question asked of her. This is why, in my opinion, she was the best of all 10 participants. What was her message? She consistently focused on two areas. Her first was the need for the UN to improve in the area of peace and security. This would be her most pressing issue if she gets the job. Clark referred...

Labour must narrow its message

8 July 2016
One of the big mistakes Labour made at the last Election was to focus on too many issues. When any campaign tries to cover more than a few core things, people remember none of them. Labour also need an over-riding theme that the key points all address. Lately, the party seems to be improving its messaging strategy, but the focus is still too broad. Their over-riding message seems to be about ‘backing the Kiwi Dream’. That’s ok, but a bit abstract....

Australian Labour's risky message

1 July 2016
News of tomorrow’s Australian General Election has been almost non-existent in the New Zealand media as so many other things have dominated the headlines this week. One thing to stand out over the Tasman has been the campaign messages used by both parties. The Liberal/Nationals Coalition have been predictable with their focus on responsible economic management and the need for stability in the years ahead. This is the focus the New Zealand National Party always takes. What is unique is the...

Media tips for school leaders

23 June 2016
Schools are getting more and more media attention these days with a growing number of controversial issues to deal with. Over the past week we’ve seen school uniform policy complaints, serious bullying, cyber bullying, sexual misconduct and anger at girls being told their skirts are to short. It’s a tough job being a school principal without the added threat of negative media scrutiny. That scrutiny often carries on for days afterwards on social media. So what should school leaders do? The...

Maureen Pugh and personal opinion in media

16 June 2016
National MP Maureen Pugh’s change of position on the vaccination of children raises an important point for media spokespeople when it comes to offering personal opinions. In an interview last week Ms Pugh said the decision to vaccinate should be a personal choice of parents, but soon after issued a statement encouraging all parents to vaccinate against potentially life-threatening diseases. The initial comment got Ms Pugh into trouble because the government want all 8-month-olds fully vaccinated. So what should you do...
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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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