Ben Fouhy commits cardinal media training sin

10 August 2012
Our media training advice to athletes who are overwhelmed by the emotion of a disappointment is to take a deep breath before criticising others in-front of journalists. Ben Fouhy was clearly frustrated after he failed to make the final of his kayaking event in London. But from a media training and sporting perspective, his outburst of abuse against the funding body, Sport New Zealand, did no-one any favours. It was bad publicity for the sport in New Zealand, adding to earlier public skirmishes between him and former coach, Ian Ferguson. It’s the last thing Kayaking New Zealand needs at the moment as it looks to get back to the glory days when Ferguson won four Olympic Gold Medals. Another important point we share with our sporting media training clients is how such outbursts can affect their futures. Sport stars need to take an interest in their future careers while they are still competing at the top level. It’s a great opportunity for them to highlight their off-field abilities and interests before a media audience that probably includes potential employers. This makes them more marketable when they do need to look for jobs. This may be in the broadcasting box, coaching or something unrelated to sport. That’s one reason why media training is important for sportspeople and athletes. It helps them show off their off-field skills, character and personality. But this is a double-edged sword. If your time in the spotlight shows less desirable qualities, your marketability obviously drops in some areas. I’m sure Ben Fouhy is a nice bloke. But unfortunately for him and his sport, his media persona doesn’t portray that.

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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.

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