Tag Archives: media training

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.

Good Riddance Pell

I’ve written about Cardinal George Pell before and this time I have to say good riddance as he leaves our shores to take up an exalted Vatican position. What a pathetic excuse of a man to have a victim of church sexual abuse right in front of him at the Royal Commission hearing yesterday and not look him in the eye as he issued an apology of sorts.

It reminded me of Tiger Woods staged apology a few years back that looked like it was being held in a funeral parlour and lacked any emotion or credibility.

For those interested here’s today’s Sunrise report revealing that he apologised again at a Mass last night!

Whether its a media training workshop or a video production interview I always tell my subjects to put any pieces of paper away and look the interviewer in the eye. This builds trust and credibility.

I strongly suspect though that the global push by lawyers to take control of every aspect of our lives is behind a lot of people reading from prepared scripts. It just looks phoney!

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.

1o Wrongly Said Sayings

There’s a really good piece on The Age online today that lists 10 sayings that people often get wrong. Because I’ve heard a few of these in my media training sessions I thought I’d post this so if you’re not sure you can check if you’re saying the phrase/word correctly.

As The Age points out, it can be incredibly embarrassing to get commonly used sayings wrong. Called an “eggcorn”, these slips happen when someone tries to use a word or expression they’ve heard that they’ve never seen written down, so muddle up the words. The name for these mistakes was derived by someone once describing an acorn as an eggcorn.

Here’s the first and last points on the list:

1. You’ll often hear someone say that something has become “a mute point”. What they should say is that it’s become “a moot point”.

10. Are you making major changes in your life, or job? Don’t describe this as a complete 360 degree change in your life. You’re not going full circle. You’re actually making a 180 degree change.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/small-business/franchising/ten-sayings-people-always-get-wrong-20140128-31jii.html#ixzz2sKGSbKdR

Memo Prime Minister – Leave The ABC Alone

So Tony Abbott used to be a journalist. I’m amazed then that he has come out swinging at the ABC, accusing it of virtually being biased against Australia – all because it didn’t give the Australian Navy the “benefit of the doubt” in its story about asylum seekers suffering burns as a result of mistreatment by the Navy.

If he was a fair dinkum journo (like I was when I did my cadetship at the ABC) then he would know that the role of the media in a democracy should be free, fair and fearless, as Michael Gordon put it in The Age today.

If Abbott intends taking the ABC down the state-controlled path we see in so many other countries then I would no longer wish to live here. And I wouldn’t be alone in that view either.

Stick to politics Tony and leave the reporting to our media, uncontrolled and not swayed by any nationalism or patriotism as you would like.

Monotone Slow Speaker Abbott Needs Better Media Training

I see The Age has finally caught up with our prime minister and his slow, monotone delivery. A piece in yesterday’s Sunday Age showed how he now speaks 100 words a minute slower in media interviews than when he was in opposition.

His rate today apparently is 108 words per minute, dropping from 216 words a minute. Normal speech is 180 words a minute.

The article quotes a Dr Cate Madill from the University of Sydney who thinks he has no “disfluencies”, that is, um, ahs and long pauses. To me, as a media trainer, he still has pauses and while the good Dr says his repetition is a good strategy to buy yourself time, it’s no good if you’re not changing the words. Merely repeating yourself two or three times in close proximity is a real turnoff for audiences.

I do agree with Dr Madill though when she says “the speech delivery of the nation’s leader resembles that of a puppet and is equal to the wooden communication style ridiculed in former prime minister Julia Gillard”.

I don’t know who is media training Abbott but I’d love to have a session with him to add some sparkle, oomph and briskness to his delivery.

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.

Laurie Oakes Backs One Of My Main Media Training Points

th-LAURIE_OAKES-100x66Interesting to read today that veteran political reporter Laurie Oakes has slammed the Abbott government saying it is “thumbing its nose at voters” through a lack of transparency and communication.

“You can’t thumb your nose at the voters’ right to know and you can’t arrogantly say ‘we’ll let the voters be misinformed and we won’t help journalists get it right’. That’s just a disgusting attitude”.

And the man I worked with at channel nine many years ago is right. Abbott and his team are being extremely arrogant and making the mistake of separating the media from the voters. I keep telling my media training workshop participants not to make that mistake – the media are the people so if you ignore them you are in effect ignoring the people. They’d be the same people who vote you in and out of office Tony!

“They’re busily trying to avoid the media as much as possible and to control the media and so far they’re getting away with it but I don’t think they will get away with it for too long,” Laurie said

Laurie said the government should learn from the experience of British Prime Minister David Cameron, who sought to control media reporting more tightly after his 2010 election, but was ultimately unsuccessful.

Mr Abbott has held just eight formal press conferences since his September 7 election win and requests for information from minister’s offices are frequently left unanswered.

I strongly suspect it is the influence of his top adviser, former lawyer Peta Credlin, that is behind the wall of secrecy. In my view lawyers and media are a bad mix and if I was Abbott I’d be appointing someone strong to push for proper media relations….before it’s too late.