Marryatt repeats media training mistake

Posted January 28, 2012

Christchurch City Council CEO Tony Marryatt has repeated a media training error he made before Christmas by giving journalists another great opportunity to keep the story about his controversial pay rise alive. Mr Marryatt was on holiday when the rise was announced. This meant he wasn't available to talk to the media. This gave journalists two cracks at the same story both at the time of the announcement and upon Mr Marryatt's return. From a media training standpoint, the Council would want to minimise bad news stories like this so the announcement should have been made when Mr Marryatt was in town. Admittedly, this story has never died, but no-one would have predicted that at the time. However, Mr Marryatt has just repeated this media training mistake by refusing the payrise, but not ruling out keeping the half of the increase that he has already received. All this will do is keep the story alive for some time. Protests will continue and journalists will constantly bug Mr Marryatt until he decides exactly what to accept. From a media training point of view, this is worse than keeping the entire amount because if he did that, journalists and editors would eventually get sick of the story. But now Mr Marryatt has given the story a fresh angle and one that will continue until he finally pays the extra money back. This story has been a lifesaver for the media over recent weeks. Little happens in the news over the summer holidays, so editors across the country struggle for story ideas. They will be thanking Mr Marryatt for his support. The best media training advice he should take is to pay that money back and kill the story once and for all.
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