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Key uses classic media training technique in Dotcom case

27 September 2012
John Key may have been in the gun this week over the unlawful spying on Kim Dotcom by the GCSB, but he has used a classic media training technique we recommend our clients use when dealing with similar events. From a media training perspective, any preparation for media scrutiny must involve the development of three key points. Expressing regret is often the first one, as it was here. This regret wasn’t directed at the victim as it is in most situations (the stress it caused Dotcom), but more that his bureau had failed. (A few minutes after this Blog was published, John Key did apologise to Dotcom). The second key point in events like this should often be the response. What was he going to do about it? We always tell our media training clients that one of the key points in situations like this must always be how they are going to help. In this case Key announced an Independent inquiry. This was the perfect way for him to show he was responding, taking this seriously and acting immediately. The third and final point in these cases can often be restitution. What are you going to do to stop this happening again? Key followed this media training tip of ours by demanding assurances from the GCSB that no more unlawful snooping would happen. This has led the bureau to review all of its cases. So while he’s had a tough time of it this week, Key has done about as well as he could have. No-one really expects him to run the GCSB with his own bear hands. But they do expect him to deal with any breaches when they occur. By following our three point media training technique of regret, response and restitution, he’s done as well as he could have.

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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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