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John Key highlights importance of media training

19 May 2012
A point made by John Key this week illustrates why leaders from all walks of life need media training. When suggesting the media had been tougher on him since the last Election, he said he could not control the 'bit they cut out', or the 7 second sound bite that made the six o'clock news. This is a common complaint. While leaders are usually good communicators, the media interview is like no other conversation. That's because you may speak to a journalist for half an hour, but they might only use about 7 seconds of that in their news story. It's up to them which part they use. This is the point Key is making. While this can lead to all sorts of problems such as being taken out of context, those who participate in a good media training course learn the skills to make sure they get the points they want into the story. It's important to know what messages you want to get used in ther first place. This is a fundamental media training skill and one that most leaders don't understand. The next step is to package these messages into language that the media love to use. For example, if you can make a point by using analogies, cliches or emotion, it is far more likely to make the final cut. Remember journalists are meant to be impartial so they can't use language like this. But they can quote you doing it. That's how they can bring their story to life. This is a vital part of the media training we offer. Whille John Key is a great media communicator, perhaps if he packaged up his messages into more interesting language, he may get more of his preferred points onto the six o'clock news.

Written by

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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