Cameron Freeman Internet Marketing, Soci-Cultural Antropology

Cameron Freeman

Media Skills Training

Learning Objectives


  • Understand contemporary Canadian media.
  • How to maximize opportunities in working with the media.
  • How to minimize the risks in working with the media.
  • How to control media interviews.


  • To rehearse key messages and answers to difficult questions.

Media Basics

  • Contemporary Media
  • Media Opportunities
  • Media Risks
  • Control
  • Managing the Interview
  • Key Messages
  • Answering Questions
  • Do's
  • Don'ts

Contemporary Media


  • Highly influential
  • Overworked, underpaid, under pressure
  • Focused on social issues, politics
  • Lack knowledge of business, technology, science
  • Have a pack mentality
  • Looking to inform and entertain
  • See everything in black and white
  • Looking for different sides of a story

Information Sources

  • Their own files
  • Other media reports
  • On-line data bases
  • Governments
  • Industry associations
  • Employees
  • Neighbors
  • Customers
  • Suppliers
  • Competitors

Media Opportunities


  • Two to ten inches
  • Can be read many times
  • High credibility
  • Easily reproduced i.e. clippings
  • Permits detailed description
  • Variable audience size


  • Fifteen to ninety seconds
  • Seen once, except re-broadcast
  • High credibility
  • Easily reproduced (less convenient)
  • Picture worth a 1000 words
  • Verbal descriptions - less detail
  • Mass audience


  • Ten to thirty seconds
  • Heard once
  • Easily reproduced
  • A headline service
  • Smaller audience

Media Risks

Interview Styles

  • Comedian
  • Interrogator
  • Machine Gunner
  • Interrupter
  • Paraphraser
  • Pal


  • Ignorance
  • Skill
  • Attitude
  • Editorial bias
  • Poor preparation


  • Lapsing into conversation
  • Ignorance
  • Nervousness
  • Attitude
  • Poor preparation
  • Tape recorders

Media Control


An unmanaged interview (a casual conversation)

  • Ten different questions.
  • Ten different answers.

A managed interview (a business meeting)

  • Ten different questions.
  • Two or three consistent answers.

Only you have 100% control of what you say!

The media relations process



  • Enhance corporate/brand reputation
  • Positive management profile
  • Reach a broad audience
  • Sustain media interest
  • Get key messages out
  • Take control of the story



  • Protect corporate/brand reputation
  • Protect management profile
  • Confine reach, duration
  • Minimize media interest
  • Get key messages out
  • Take control of the story



  • Key messages
  • Q&A
  • Media Kit
  • B-roll (B-rolls are broadcast quality, professionally shot
    video clips), stock photos
  • Photo ops
  • Train spokespeople
  • Media advisory
  • Media releases
  • Follow-up calls
  • News conferences
  • Special Events
  • One-on-one interviews
  • Monitor coverage



  • Key messages
  • Q&A
  • Media Kit
  • B-roll, stock photos
  • Stand-by statement
  • Train spokespeople
  • Media releases
  • Regular bulletins/briefings
  • News conferences
  • Special Events
  • One-on-one interviews
  • Monitor coverage
  • Correct rumours

Screening Questions

  1. What is the reporters name, phone and fax numbers?
  2. What is the subject of the interview and which specific angles will the reporter be exploring?
  3. What is the real deadline?
  4. Will the interview be live or taped?
  5. How long will the interview last and where will it be conducted? (to be negotiated.)
  6. Where will the article appear: news, lifestyle, sports, etc.?
  7. When will it be broadcast or published?
  8. Who is the audience or reader?
  9. Who else will the reporter be talking to?
  10. Can I help you ensure accuracy before it is published/broadcast?

Managing the Interview


Your Rights and Options

  • Accept/Refuse
  • Win
  • Draw
  • Lose
  • Maintain a relationship


  • Time Frame
  • Graceful ending


  • Office
  • Plant
  • Store
  • Outside
  • Inside
  • Across the table


  • Multiple takes


  • Business Attire
  • Shirt/Blouse
  • Casual


  • Standing
  • Sitting

Key Messages

Ask yourself, What do I want them to remember?

  • Fewer than twenty words.
  • No more than five messages.
  • Simple Words
  • Punchy appropriate phrasing.
  • Interesting, different, unique - newsworthy.
  • Support with clear simple examples.

Answering questions



  • State your key message up front.


  • Simple examples, meaningful to your audience.
  • Stress the benefits, local angles, accentuate the positive.


  • Restate your key message.

Use Transitional Phrases

  • Your readers would be interested to know
  • Thats an interesting question; let me remind you though
  • Before I forget, I wan to tell your audience
  • Let me put that in perspective
  • Whats important to remember, however
  • What I really want to talk to you about is
  • Whats most important is
  • And dont forget
  • Before we get off that subject/topic let me add
  • Thats no my area of expertise but what I can tell you is
  • What Im really here to talk to you about is
  • Let me just add...

Use Transitional Phrases

  • Thats a good point...I think your audience would be interested in knowing that
  • That reminds me
  • Let me answer you by saying that
  • Let me give you some background information
  • Lets take a closer look at
  • Thats an important point because
  • What that means is
  • Another thing to remember is
  • Now that youve covered, lets move on to
  • You may be asking why is true
  • Whileis certainly important, dont forget that
  • As I said...

Remember to...

  • Prepare messages and answers in advance, know your story, rehearse.
  • Research the opportunity beforehand.
  • Dress appropriately and arrive early.
  • Understand your rights.
  • Give your business card and info kit to reporters - fax key messages after a phone interview.
  • Ask for the reporters business card.
  • Treat each interview as special - as an opportunity.
  • Respect a reporters deadline and be responsive.
  • Be yourself, be honest.
  • Stay calm in an interview, watch your demeanor.
  • Stick to your key messages and keep it simple.
  • Establish business relationships with reporters, and media outlets.
  • Be confident - you are the expert.
  • Mention the name of your organization or its products if the story is positive.

Remember NOT to...

  • Use jargon.
  • Feel obligated or pressured.
  • Guess, speculate or comment on rumors.
  • Assume anything.
  • Say, no comment.
  • Repeat a negative.
  • Use sarcasm.
  • Speak off-the-record.
  • Let a reporter put words in your mouth.
  • Speak on behalf of other organizations.
  • Express a personal view.
  • Mention the name of your organization or its products if the story is negative.

Media Skills Summary

  • Interviews are business meetings.
  • Know and deliver your key messages.
  • Practice and prepare.
  • Understand your rights.
  • Accentuate the positive.
  • Maintain control of the interview.