Workshop: Effective Media Interaction

Blogger: Vickie Pleus (Orlando Area)

Effective Media Interaction
Presented by: John Zarrella, President, JZMedia

  • Takeaways: Comprehend the value in media training; understand the importance of protecting the image; find comfort on camera

  • Media training is not always going to be perfect, but it certainly can be a benefit

    • Have a good understanding of how it works

      • It’s the whole package: your presence, how you deliver message, where you deliver, how you dress…all these go into the package you’re trying to present to the client, company

      • You are the spokesperson; your responsibility is to get the message out or protect the interest of the org/ company

    • Don’t agree to interview immediately

      • What would you like to discuss?

        • If you are client, call your agency first before giving interview

      • Create outline

      • Discuss questions with other staff

      • Ask reporter:  What questions will you be asking me?

        • Does not always work

        • Reporter may say “general question about ____ (subject)”

          • Follow up questions may change anyway, be based on questions they produce

    • Be aware of surroundings, esp. for TV, and how you look

      • Clean desk?

      • Blinds open/closed?

      • Lighting?

      • Outside?

      • What to wear

        • Blues, stay away from warm tones

        • Solid colors, no stripes/no busy patterns

          • No distracting jewelry, dangling earrings

        • Dress for weather

  • Remember your manners – make the reporter comfortable

    • Be polite

    • Offer water

    • Need anything before interview?

      • May not hurt; develop rapport with reporter that’s interviewing you

  • Keep your cool!

    • Interviewer could be challenging

    • Could be an ambush

    • Keeping your cool is the most important thing you can do

      • Always assume the camera is rolling, mics are on

    • Keep it simple

      • Stick to the message

      • Talk in sound bites

      • Don’t go on and on!

        • what you want to get out may be getting lost

It’s not just how you say or what you say, it’s how you present yourself

  • Never lie; don’t make things up

    • Even if the reporter doesn’t catch it, social media will catch it

    • If you don’t know the answer, don’t make it up

      • Get back to them with the answer

      • Have an expert available to you so you may defer if you don’t know the answers

  • Consider media training

    • Interview w/subject to put them at ease

    • Record interview

    • Then “reporter” asks tougher questions

Before interview, after meetings with staff, as you work on outline, that’s where the sound bites come from

  • Don’t try to fill the silences

  • Ok to pause

  • Don’t look defensive

  • Correct incorrect information

    • Correct it on the spot if possible

  • Don’t paraphrase the incorrect information first…simply replace with the CORRECT information

ZarellaJohn Zarrella is president of JZMedia. He was a network news correspondent for CNN for 30 years based in the network’s Miami bureau. His work included coverage of natural disasters, the U.S. Space Program, the environment and major breaking news. After leaving CNN in 2014, he began JZMedia. He continues to report now for CCTV-America, an International network, and does media trainings and public speaking.

 

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