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Media training lesson from Len Brown affair

17 October 2013
The most important media training advice people in a similar position to Len Brown could take is to spill all the beans in one swoop. Lden BrownI'm not saying there is more to come, but if there is, he needs to front up and tell it all now. Without comparing the Auckland Mayor's situation to Tiger Woods, the golfing star failed to front up at all when his infidelity was uncovered. From a media training perspective, all this did was allow new stories to dribble out over months. He was on the front page of the New York Times for something like 18 straight days. If he had fronted up on day one and told everything, the story would have died a lot earlier. If there is more to come in the Len Brown affair, he needs to release it all now, unless he wants to see the issue drag on and on like the Woods story. If there is no more to come, he should say so. If there is, he must front up. Tiger Woods got terrible media training advice. By not making himself available to the media, he allowed speculation and innuendo to flourish. There was also a new story every time a new piece of information was uncovered. That wouldn’t have happened if he released that information himself on day one. To his credit, Mr Brown did appear on Campbell Live on Tuesday night. But there are still questions. He didn’t answer the question: “Are there more skeleton’s to come out of the closet.” He still needs to answer that. We tell our media training clients that it’s best to front up. Apart from limiting the lifespan of the story, it’s also about reputation. Lots of people judge you on how you deal with these things, rather than what actually happened.  So it’s best for you to get on the front foot and release the information yourself, rather than purely react to new revelations as they dribble out.  

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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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