Obama uses media training formula during Hurricane

9 November 2012
The formula we teach our media training clients to use in crisis situations was followed to the letter by President Obama when commenting on Hurricane Sandy this week. It was vital Obama got this right, because his performance could have determined the fate of the US election. When preparing to address the journalists in these situations, we recommend that our media training clients produce three key points to focus on. The first must be Regret or a show of empathy for the victims. Obama followed this with the following sound bite: "Our hearts go out to the families who have lost loved ones.” The second point must be the Response, or what you are doing to help. Obama said he would cut through red tape to get people the help they needed, and restoring electricity was the priority. From a media training perspective, you must show people what you are doing to fix things. You must first empathise, and then act. The third point can often be Restitution, or what you plan to do after this is all over to improve the response next time. This could be a review of emergency procedures. Restitution is not necessary in all situations. Sometimes a better alternative can be used as a third point. In Obama’s case, he chose to focus on how people came together to help others. He said: "We go through tough times but we bounce back. The reason we bounce back is we look out for one another and we don't leave anybody behind.” This formula worked a treat for Obama. It is not only applicable in emergency situations, but many other less serious events that can cripple businesses if they don’t react properly. This highlights the importance of media training and being prepared for media scrutiny.

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.

Leave a comment

Fields marked * are required

My Latest Blog Posts

28 April 2022
Luxon's tax question problem and possible answer
3 February 2022
Christopher Luxon on the money with 'caring' comment
16 December 2021
Why Greg Foran is my Media Communicator of the Year

Subscribe to our newsletter and get our FREE ebook '5 Steps to Pain Free Media Interviews'

Get your copy now

Media Training NZ Limited
PO Box 105721
Auckland 1070
PO Box 36-251
Christchurch 8011
Email: Pete Burdon
Tel: 029 200 8555
Website by
Limelight Online