Media skills of new leader vital for Act hopes

7 February 2014
The media skills of new Act leader Jamie Whyte will largely determine how well his party does at this year’s General Election. Jamie WhyteAlthough Act is likely to win Epson with help from National, the hopes of getting another MP or two over the line will be determined by how much positive media attention Whyte gets around the country. This is where his media training skills will be vital. If he learns how to speak in sound bites, like John Key and David Cunliffe can, he will receive far more coverage. This was an area former Labour Leader David Shearer never mastered. It’s also why media would find other sources for their stories. Whyte will need a clear message to convince people why they should vote for Act. But more importantly, he must be able to communicate his message in interesting ways with exciting language. If he does this, the media will cover him. If he doesn’t, they won’t. It’s as simple as that. This is something we focus on with our media training clients. It’s one thing to have a good message, but it’s quite another to communicate it in a way that will interest reporters and their audiences. The other thing Act will need to look at is how they can proactively manufacture their own media publicity. While Whyte will need top class media interview skills, the party will also need to create its own stories that attract media interest, rather than merely respond to interview requests. Perhaps they could focus on a radical policy that would create intense interest, and impress former Act voters who moved away from the party. In a nutshell, Act need to be seen to be relevant. And their new leader will have to make the most of every media opportunity he gets. For more on our media training and presentation training courses, contact

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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