Tag Archives: media trainer

Media Training Says Always Proof Read

There are numerous examples of how a lack of proof reading can cause embarrassment and grief to companies and individuals. Today I read on a Murdoch website that “a 124-year-old family business went kaput within two months because of a typo on a government register. Really, you can’t make this stuff up.

Welsh engineers Taylor & Sons, which was established in 1875, got a shock in February 2009 when Companies House, the UK government’s registrar of companies, recorded the company as having gone bust.

It hadn’t.

But Taylor & Son had. Note the difference — one had an ‘s’ and the other didn’t. The Telegraph in the UK, reported that while the mistake was caught and corrected three days later, it had done irreparable damage to Taylor & Sons, the business that was still kicking at the time.

Now, a former owner of Taylor & Sons has successfully sued the government, which he says destroyed the business with incorrect spelling.

Yesterday, the British High Court found the government liable for the demise of the business, which could leave taxpayers with a £9 million ($17.2 million) legal bill.”

Closer to home, I often see “typos” on GTV 9 News which I used to produce. Suburbs spelt incorrectly, names spelt wrongly etc. I often wonder if the producer or his/her assistant actually check the wording coming out of their graphics department. I did a short stint at HSV 7 news desk four years ago and the producer there had the graphics department come to her desk and show her every “super” that would be used on the news that night – and she proof read each one to ensure the spelling was correct.

GTV 9 News – take note!!

 

Media Training Says Beware Of Social Media

Interesting story on Murdoch websites today.

“WHEN the head honcho of Nissan decided to offer himself on Reddit, you can bet he didn’t expect this kind of backlash.

But backlash he got.

Nissan and Renault chief executive Carlos Ghosn took part in a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) yesterday and, today, he’s probably wishing he hadn’t.

It seemed to start out fine. Mr Ghosn logged onto the social media platform with the invitation: “I’m the CEO of Renault and Nissan and we’re making autonomous driving vehicles happen by 2020. Ask me anything!”.

Mr Ghosn was lobbed with question by Redditors (Reddit users) but some have accused the company of manipulating the whole thing into a blatant PR exercise. Specifically, Redditor HimCaysE pointed out Mr Ghosn was cherrypicking very particular questions he would answer. Suspiciously, some questions appeared to come from accounts that were either new or didn’t have much of a Reddit history.

Another Redditor, chrisman01, wrote: “[It’s] extremely obvious, considering how all the questions that are positive and name very specific products are the only ones that get answers. Answers that all plug their products. The AMA is the most blatant PR stunt I’ve seen. Seriously, read these freaking questions and answers and tell me they don’t seem utterly staged.””

Some of the questions Mr Ghosn answered :

“Hi Carlos, I’m a diehard Datsun/Nissan fan that is very glad to see well the company has done with you at the helm and hoping to see many more years of continued success. My question is how you see hydrogen fuel cells playing a part in electric vehicles and if Nissan/Renault are investing, or planning to invest, in this technology directly or through partnerships? Thank you and regards, Doug.”

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn presents the new Titan XD truck at the North American Internation

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn presents the new Titan XD truck at the North American International Auto Show on Monday. Source: AP

“Hello Mr Ghosn, first off thanks for doing an AMA! Second, I am new to car sales and have recently been hired at a Nissan dealership, do you have any advice for a new Nissan salesman?”

“How do you intend to solve the issue of inclement weather with fully autonomous vehicles? Will they be able to deal with snow and ice?”

“Hello Mr Ghosn. As lab partners go, NASA is hard to beat. From Nissan’s point of view, what areas of research will this partnership benefit? CES showed how competitive this field is — do you expect collaboration with NASA to give you the edge? And if so, how? Thanks! Tom.”

Questions Mr Ghosn declined to answer included:

“During your time with Nissan, have you had any other type of car other than a Nissan?”

“What are your thoughts on the US government’s bail outs of the auto industry and how do you think those bail outs panned out now that it’s 2015?”

“Hi Mr Ghosn, what do you think about Google’s autonomous cars? What’s your competitive advantage?”

“Not that there’s a chance in hell, but I’m getting married in July, so can I have a GT-R as my gift?”

“What’s your favourite flavour of bubblegum?”

However, Nissan has denied that anything nefarious took place. It told Mashable that the “audience was pure” and that there was no astroturfing.

Nissan Australia had no comment to add and referred to responses from its global team.

You bet they did! We’ve been saying in our media training for some time that if you throw yourself open to the public be prepared! And maybe be honest!

Dress Appropriately For Your Environment

There’s our Prime Minister running the country from an Army tent in remote Arnhem Land but what’s he wearing – a white long sleeve shirt and blue tie as he sits at his makeshift desk/computer for a photo/video opportunity.

How ridiculous. Not correct, in my media training advice. I know he still has to talk with world leaders, especially this week as we prepare to go to war with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria but, gee Tony, dress appropriately. Later in the same story I saw on TV last night he was dressed in short sleeve T shirt as he spoke with Aboriginal elders. If that sort of dress code is okay with our indigenous leaders then surely it’s okay for world leaders too, not that I believe he was in video chats with them. Who cares. He is in the Aussie bush and he should dress appropriately whether he’s in video chats or just telephone conversations.

By the way, whoever came up with that ridiculous strip of cloth to wear tightly around your neck should be severely punished. What a stupid concept.

Props – Great For TV Interviews And Press Photos

Don’t be backward in using props if you think they’re going to focus people’s attention on your message. But, if you do use a prop, just remember to hold it up higher than you normally might to accommodate the framing for a TV interview or Press photo. The same rule applies if you’re a hand talker and you want people to fully see your hands not just the tips of fingers running along the bottom of the screen.

Sharman Stone using a propThis photo shows Liberal MP for Murray, Dr Sharman Stone, holding up samples of SPC fruit at a media conference on February 13, 2014 as she welcomed the Victorian Government’s injection of funds to save the Shepparton factory from closure.

Watch the Typos – The Media Do!

A press article today says Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s office went into damage control on Wednesday morning when its spin doctors spun the wrong way.

In a media release to accompany the latest greenhouse gas emission figures for Australia, Mr Hunt was quoted in the opening line as saying: “Emissions figures released today show the Carbon Tax is still inflicting plenty of gain, with no environmental pain”.

Within four minutes, the release was speedily amended to swap the offending nouns, to say that the tax was in fact “still inflicting plenty of pain, with no environmental gain”.

The article said a spokesman for Mr Hunt wanted to be clear “it was my typo, not the Minister’s”.

These are the sort of accidents that can happen when preparing media releases and anyone involved in that activity has to be super vigilant. In my media training workshops I highly recommend reading the release back to yourself several times and, if possible, get another set of friendly eyes nearby to check your work.

DFAT Needs Better Media Training

The Australian newspaper today carries a story about the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and their heavy handed media management in the Philippines.

Journalist Paul Toohey says the very first aid plane from Australia to land at Tacloban City was carrying a media adviser and when his photographer asked for names of people working on setting up the tents for captions they either said they were not allowed to say or ignored him. “They’d been media-awareness trained”, said Toohey.

Well, they weren’t very well media-awareness trained or they would have been doing all in their power to help the media get this horrific story out to the public so donations could pour in.

Toohey made the point that the heavy-handed approach (bloody stupid if you ask me) by Australian authorities was in sharp contrast to the US Marines who escorted media past security barriers and made sure they had unhindered access anywhere they went.

Looks to me like the US Marines are getting far better media training than DFAT in Australia.

VW Needed Some Media Training

VW needed media trainingVolkswagen Australia should have had media training before the debacle of its recent safety recall. If I had been running a media training Melbourne workshop for their top executives I would have said “you have to talk to the public about this and the best and most efficient way to do that is through the news media”.

Instead, the company refused to speak to the media and the public were therefore left in the dark about the problems some were having with their VW engines suddenly losing power. They were rightly puzzled as VW in other countries had issued safety recalls for the same problem!

By the time VW went ahead and issued the safety recall for 26,000 vehicles, the Australian public voted with their feet and stayed out of VW showrooms in droves.  On July 3, 2013 it was announced that VW sales had dropped 20% while the market overall was up 5%!

I can’t believe they refused to speak to the news media for a whole week before issuing the recall. They seemed to forget that the Australian public don’t like being messed with. They were forgetting also that the media are the people, and in this case, those people were potential buyers who obviously looked elsewhere.

One of the great media training examples.

Media Training Helps With Media Releases Too





Media training is not just about helping you prepare for a media interview. It can involve other aspects of the media encounter, such as preparation of media releases. In today’s Age there is a little item that says:

“When pitching story ideas, it could be worthwhile to check if the event being spruiked in a media release is still occurring and if the date of the milestone being marked has already occurred. Just a suggestion.

Obviously the journalist involved, Suzanne Carbone, had received such a bad media release. I always tell my media training workshop participants to ensure you have the correct contact details and, if you’re writing the release during the week for a weekend event, make sure you have after hours contact details so the journalist can reach you if they need to.

I was working on the Channel 7 newsdesk in Melbourne a couple of years ago when a PR lady called to thank us for running a story on her new health breakthrough. When I told her the international speaker we filmed had the words from the projector over his face most of the time her response was: “I wasn’t expecting television.” I told her that if you send out a media release to the media, expect all forms of it to turn up, then you’re covered.

By the way, it is media release, not press release as it covers all arms of the media – press, radio, television and internet.

Turnbull Shows Honesty – A Main Media Training Point





Interesting to see Malcolm Turnbull on Q&A last night espousing one of my media training points – honesty. The shadow communications spokesman was asked what it was like to lose the party leadership.

”Gut-wrenching.” ”Devastating.” They were the two main emotive words used and, as The Age points out today, it was “honest and direct enough to make you look up at the person talking. Up in the control room at Q&A, they knew they had a moment. The camera angle was unsatisfactory. They switched angles, trying to get the shot tight on his face. It didn’t quite work, because Turnbull forgot his TV technique and kept swivelling to address the questioner.”

There are a lot of people who have been destroyed by political setbacks and I could have been – it was very, very gut-wrenching, it was devastating. It’s a devastating business, a terribly cruel business, politics. Because all of your mistakes and blunders are out there in the public arena. You’ve got nowhere to hide. There is not an ounce of privacy.’

Wow, real honesty – and from a politician no less. I am impressed and just wish more attendees at our media training workshops would take this lesson on board and be more open and honest with the media in future.

A New Aid in Media Training





Just discovered a new aid that I will be highlighting in ongoing media training workshops – Addictomatic at http://addictomatic.com/. Simply insert the topic you’re interested in and it will create a mashup of entries on that topic from:

  • Twitter Search
  • Bing News
  • Google Blog Search
  • WordPress.com
  • YouTube
  • Flickr
  • Friendfeed
  • Blinkx Mainstream Vid News
  • Delicious tags
  • Twingly Blog Search and
  • Ask.com News

Anyone facing a media interview would be wise to insert their organisation’s name and the topic of interest into that site to see what people might be saying – I reckon the journos are doing the same thing so be prepared before any media interview. I also suggest at my media training sessions that potential interviewees do a Google search and, if time allows, set up a Google Alert on the topic – again, these are steps the journos are likely to be taking and you should be equally as prepared particularly if you find some negative comments through these steps.