May 22, 2012

In the hot seat

In the hot seat

Two years after leaving the world of broadcast journalism I was back behind the microphone last week grilling the latest candidates to participate in Orchard PR’s media training course. Orchard PR’s resident media trainer Emma Anderson invited me along to play the “journalist” in the fictional interviews in which the candidates take part on the day.

When I was on air, I clocked up numerous hours trawling through interviews in search of the golden sound bite to help bring stories alive. Most journalists are looking for a sound bite no longer than 15 to 20 seconds in length. In the grand scheme of things, this is not long especially when you factor in pauses and common ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’.  It’s important interviewees are aware of what journalists are looking for and are confident in their key messages and can deliver them in a way that meets the needs of the journalist.

These skills are often the difference between an audience actually engaging in what you say or making them switch off entirely. This is where media training comes in and it can give interviewees the skills to deliver and impress. Where media training helps is in understanding the media, knowing your target audience(s), tailoring your messages to suit those audiences and having a “tool box” to help you prepare and get the most out of an interview.

As Emma often says, communicating through the media (both traditional and digital) is not a dark art, it is a learned skill and once you have built those muscles you need to exercise them to stay in shape.

Posted by Cat.

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