Media Training in New Orleans, Baton Rouge & Louisiana

DSC_0076By Gerard Braud

Media training in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and other cities in Louisiana carry a special set of challenges. Usually the training is for spokesmen – as in all men. Seldom is the media training for spokespeople, representing both genders. The spokesmen generally work in the oil and chemical industry. Most are not trained public relations professionals. Most are managers and supervisors in a chemical plant or an oil refinery.

In Louisiana’s industrial corridor, the bulk of the media training is to prepare someone for crisis response. Often companies call asking for crisis communications training or crisis management training. Seldom do they ask for media training because many do not know what the training should be called.

At the risk of generalizing, many of these spokesmen grew up as I did. We were taught to tell it like it is. Telling it like it is usually starts with negative information, followed by a justification for the bad news or event. After the bad news and the justification, Louisiana men often tell you what they are going to do differently.

Analyzed, it looks like this:

Bad News – Repeat the negative

Bad News – Repeat the negative

Good News

When I was a television reporter, I was often first on the scene when a chemical plant blew up between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Often the spokesperson would share too many negative details that should not have been shared. They might say something such as, “Well we’ve been having problems with the vessel in the hydrocarbon unit for the past month. We had one small fire that we put out last week. But we don’t know what caused the explosion today. But I promise you, safety is our top priority.”

To be an expert spokesman in media interviews, the fewer negatives you repeat, the better you will be. In media training, you need to learn to say positive news first and as little of the negative news as possible.

The statement above might have better been worded by saying, “Our goal is to always be protective of human health and the environment. What has happened here today will require us to investigate so we can find out what happened, how it happened, and how we can keep it from ever happening again.”

Are you up to the challenge for a media interview?

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