When is the last time your company and its key leaders went through a media training exercise? If you don’t know how to answer that question, you might be in trouble.
PR firms go to great lengths to make sure that their clients who have the potential to find themselves frequently on the business end of a microphone or reporter’s notepad are properly media trained. Ambush interviews were always the scariest of scenarios, as an interviewee scrambles to deflect, perhaps, a hostile reporter looking for blood in the water. But even planned interviews required preparation. Talking points were sculpted and honed, positioning was clearly spelled out, anticipated questions were practiced and rehearsed.
Even the most gifted interviewees can be faced with unexpected challenges and obstacles when dealing with the media. To help mitigate these risks, companies should implement robust media training programs that coincide with major company announcements and crisis situations.
Need more incentive to invest resources into a custom media training program? Here are four videos that might spark a change in your way of thinking.
Mark Zuckerberg Stumbles Under Pressure
If your organization is currently battling a certain issue, it’s most likely going to become an interview topic for the media. Being prepared to properly answer any questions and stick to key talking points is critical. In this video, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is asked about the social network recent privacy issues. It definitely appears like he wasn’t ready. You can almost feel his pain.
Cookies Don’t Solve Problems
In certain cases, media inquires about hot topics need to be deflected in a very “courteous” manner. Unfortunately, Alberta Health Services CEO Stephen Duckett did not receive the memo containing that information.
Students Really Do Their Homework
Each and every interview opportunity should be treated with equal respect. As Arizona State Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal learned, even amateur journalists can throw an unexpected curveball. Watch as a high school journalism student calls out the public official on his voting record.
Even PR Pros Could Use a Refresher
To be fair, it’s not always the company president that could use a crash course in working with the media. When faced with a crisis situation, an improperly trained communications team can quickly add fuel to the media fire. When Dan Noyes, an investigative reporter, learned that a local hospital was supposedly using patient funds for airline tickets and meals, he tried to land an impromptu interview with a hospital official. He was quickly intercepted by the hospital’s communications director, leading to a very awkward encounter.
While these videos highlight the dark side of media interviews, there are plenty of examples out there of well-trained spokespeople who have handled challenging interviews with ease. I wonder if their media training had something to do with it?