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Biblical media training advice for Sky City

22 June 2012
Sky City made a fundamental media training error by failing to appear on One News on Tuesday night. By not fronting up, company management lost control of the Bible story. The angle of the One News story was that this poor old woman was likely to be sacked for carrying her Bible to work. But this was never a possibility, as the Sky City spokesperson said in The Herald on the same day. But this was only known by Herald readers. All non-Herald readers watching One News still thought she may well be sacked. There were two media training mistakes here. Firstly, if you are going to give interviews in these situations, you must give them to all major networks. In this case they spoke to The Herald but not One News. Secondly, you should always be available to comment on a story like this so that you control the story and avoid any misinterpretations. If a spokesperson had fronted on One News and said: “This is not an issue serious enough to warrant dismissal,” the story would have been shut down. But because no-one fronted with this message, the story grew legs as was blown out of all proportion. Ironically, when Sky City did front when the issue was resolved, they said they understood why there was a public backlash, but that it was misplaced. From a media training perspective, the public backlash was purely because no-one from the company fronted up early on TV to say the issue would not warrant dismissal. This is a good example why it’s important to front up in difficult circumstances to make sure the full facts are known and reputations are maintained.

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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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