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Media Training 101 - A Guide to Meeting the Press





Book: 'Media Training 101 - A Guide to Meeting the Press'

Author: Sally Stewart

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, 2004

ISBN: 0-471-27155-1

Leader Values

There is something very polarising about the press. The very thought of meeting reporters turns most of us into quivering pessimists or triumphant optimists. The pessimists have nightmares about leaving the office to be met by a crowd of hostile reporters asking questions about some unexpected disaster. Maybe a consumer has been injured by the companys products, or a staff member has been kidnapped. How should you react in such a situation? How can you show that you are an honest and caring person, not an evasive and heartless monster? By contrast, the optimists see press coverage as free advertising. So they dont worry up front; though they may finish up having nightmares later if the press report turns out to be unexpectedly negative.

Media Training 101 deals with situations like these, giving clear and helpful guidelines on how to avoid such Public Relations crises and how you should deal with them if they do arise. It reassures the pessimists with clear guidelines on how to deal with the press. And it counsels the optimists on how to choose which situations can be beneficial to the company, and which should be avoided.

As a former journalist who now trains large corporations how to manage their PR programs, Sally Stewart is like the proverbial poacher turned gamekeeper. She understands how reporters think, and knows how to avoid pitfalls and turn media coverage to the companys advantage. She can explain why you should never answer questions with No comment and what to say instead and why speaking off the record is dangerous.

Sally certainly pulls no punches when she talks about journalists, even though she has many friends working in that field. She stresses that journalists are not your friends and that their only loyalty is to the story - not to you. This often comes as an unpleasant surprise, when an interview that seemed friendly and open becomes a negatively critical news report. So Sally advises that a little bit of fear is healthy when you start dealing with reporters. But her calm and reassuring approach is the ideal tonic for preventing this healthy fear from becoming a debilitating phobia.

The catchy title does not do full justice to the scope of Media Training 101. Although Sally starts from the basics and presents her material simply and clearly, working through this book is a more comprehensive experience than merely attending some introductory lectures. And of course, the discussion isn't all about avoiding and managing disasters. The book also covers more positive and company-driven situations like writing good press releases and hiring PR that works. If you are prone to PR nightmares, this practical and readable book is an ideal antidote.

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