Media Training

Ebola shows media power to sensationalise

9 October 2014
Anyone reading news coming out of the US lately could be forgiven for thinking the Ebola virus will wipe out the entire world population. That might be a slight exaggeration, but it does highlight that the news media is interested in selling newspapers, not necessarily giving a balanced account of issues. Sensationalism sells, so that’s what many media outlets will look for in their stories. For example, let’s assume three scientists all have different views over how many people will die...

Cunliffe repeats media interview mistake

2 October 2014
It may seem pedantic to some, but by using the language of denial again this week, David Cunliffe did little to distance himself from his wife’s admission that she set up a Twitter account to attack her husband’s rivals. I’m not saying the former Labour Leader had any knowledge of it, but by saying to reporters: “I’m not into gutter politics,” he did himself no favours. He should never use his own name and the words ‘gutter politics’ in the same...

How were the media skills of party leaders in campaign?

24 September 2014
John Key The Prime Minister was clearly rattled early in the campaign with the release of Dirty Politics. But once he got through the first Leaders Debate, he was back to his usual high standard. He stayed on message consistently, and got his points through clearly with his use of personal stories and analogies. (These were covered in earlier blogs.) David Cunliffe The Leader of the Opposition had a great campaign when it comes to media appearances. He is an expert...

Key the master of the analogy

18 September 2014
A few weeks ago I discussed how effectively John Key uses personal stories to get his points across. Another way he does this successfully is by using analogies. This was apparent again in last night’s final Leaders Debate. At one stage he was making the point that if people wanted a National-led Government, they should vote for National. He was telling National voters not to support a party like the Conservatives instead. He was concerned some people may do this so...

Body language the Key to John's success

11 September 2014
Body language is usually the deciding factor in leader’s debates, and last night’s was no exception. Both David Cunliffe and John Key were very much ‘on message’. In that sense, you could call the debate a draw. Cunliffe’s big message was the need for fairness, while Key’s focus was on his government’s economic record and the importance that its policies continue. However, where Key was dominant was in the area of body language. As we emphasise to our media training clients,...

Key expert at using personal stories to make points

4 September 2014
One of the best ways to make a point stick with audiences is by telling personal stories. This is particularly important for extended media interviews or live debates when answers can be longer than short sound bites. That’s because people are far more interested in personal stories than abstract points. So if the point can be made by telling a story, it’s far more likely to be heard and remembered. John Key has always been an expert at this. There were...

Key narrowly wins first debate

28 August 2014
Both men had their good moments in the first leaders debate tonight, but I give the victory to Prime Minister John Key by a thin margin. Key clearly had two messages he planned to get across. The first was to portray National as strong economic managers. He used figures effectively to back up this claim. The other message was the need for people to take the Green Party economic policy into account when considering what Labour had to offer. One of...

What should National do about media leaks?

21 August 2014
The drip-feeding of leaked material to the media after the Nicky Hager book was launched is obviously of concern to the National Party. So what should they do? That depends. If there is a smoking gun somewhere, the National Party person or people involved must be aware of it. I’m certainly not saying there is something more explosive to come out. There may well not be. But if there is and they know about it, there is only one thing to...

What messages should parties adopt after Nicky Hager book?

15 August 2014
All political parties must think carefully how they respond to the Hager allegations over the next few weeks. They will have decided on their election campaign messages well before this issue was raised. But now it is the focus of media attention, how should parties respond? Should they ignore it in favour of their carefully selected campaign messages, or should opposition parties jump in with both feet? In my view, that depends. Clearly National should maintain its denial of any conspiracy....

ACT on the right track to maximise votes

8 August 2014
ACT may have been quiet since Jamie Whyte became leader, but the party now appears to be doing the right things in its push to get more than one MP into Parliament after September 20. To be relevant, small parties need to get their fair share of publicity. In other words, potential voters need to have you on their radar for you to have any chance of getting their support. Jamie Whyte’s recent statements about “one law for all” has done...
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