Media Training

Sometimes your staff need to know how to communicate with the media – especially if they work in the PR side of your business.

Media training helps you to clearly understand and communicate with the media. It equips people with the skills to communicate clearly, effectively – and responsibly.

HT media’s Tony Cartledge is senior producer. He has won awards for persuading a government minister to re-open Consett steelworks – so he knows a thing or two about persuasive talking. He provides his unique insight into media training…

Have you watched Question Time and spotted the common theme?

There are no prizes for spotting the outstanding feature of the weekly skirmish between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. What is it? The question is rarely – if ever – answered.

Theresa May shows no signs of breaking with tradition: Jeremy Corbyn asks about the latest health service crisis, Mrs May responds with figures about record NHS investment. No answer in sight.

The television viewer is driven mad by this politician quirk. We ask ourselves – if we were faced with this questioning, how would we respond?

My advice would be simple: don’t even try.

For anyone who finds themselves in an exposed, media-facing situation, media training should be – and is – an essential. People are being prepared for the worst happening – and they have to justify their actions, or more commonly, their corporate actions, to hostile reporters. There’s also a tendency to think they’re all disreputable hacks after a headline, which doesn’t help…

Speaking as a disreputable hack myself, I can confirm they ARE after a headline, or at least something interesting that will attract the attentions of their audience. Why not give it to them – tell them what actually happened?

If you’ve drawn the short straw and you’re facing a media grilling, try to follow these simple rules.

  1. Avoid Jargon, it is known for isolating people.
  2. Don’t try to be a politician –  answer the question.
  3. Apologise when appropriate with a human response.
  4. Tell the truth – it’s simpler in the long run.
  5. If you don’t know the answer, admit you don’t, and explain why. Then make an effort to return to the press with the answer.
  6. Don’t rise to bait or lose your temper. Address what went wrong in a calm and apologetic manner.

Aim to come across as a human being, and make it clear your organization wants to learn from its mistakes.

 HT Media is one of the North East’s specialist TV and film production companies.