PRINZ Conference, my book and how media training will change

21 May 2015

I’m at the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) Conference in Wellington and just heard former NZ Herald Editor Gavin Ellis present on the future of the news media.

It’s an interesting presentation, and touches on some of the points I’m raising in my book, “Media Training for Modern Leaders.” This will be released early next year.

Ellis says more people are getting their news from mobile devices, and this trend will continue. He says people will want their news immediately, briefly and only the stories that interest them.

He also talked about new multi-media journalists and the growing need of news organisations to present news in different formats.

While my book will cover the entire media interview process, there will be a special focus on how these media changes will affect that interview process.

For example, the need for news to be brief is important. This means spokespeople will need to be even more succinct when talking to reporters. Sound bites used to last about 15 seconds, but this has drooped to under 10. This will need to reduce further as journalists are asked to produce shorter stories. That means spokespeople will have to make their sound bites as punchy and interesting as possible if they want their points to get past media gatekeepers.

Interviews with multi-media journalists will also need a new approach. For example, if a print reporter also has a video-camera, the spokesperson will need to be more aware of body language and clothing than before.

The new speed of news is another issue raised by Ellis. He mentioned that journalists are now required to post stories on news websites immediately and updated regularly. This means spokespeople will need to get back to reporters within minutes if they want their side of an argument covered. This requires special skills and creates more pressure.

These changes in the demands of spokespeople in the digital age is often overlooked. They will be covered in detail in “Media Training for Modern Leaders” when it is released.

The PRINZ conference has more great speakers presenting over the next two days.

For more on my media training workshops, contact or 029 200 8555

Filed under Media Training

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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