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COVID-19 Media Interviews: Share Your Thoughts

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC 

The COVID-19 coronavirus crisis has spawned new aspects of crisis communications and media interviews. Behold, the social distancing media interview done from your computer in your home.

What do you think about these interviews?

Your assignment for the day is to:

  1. Watch TV
  2. Take a photo of an interview being done from home
  3. Critique how the interview looks
  4. Send your image and your critique to me at any of my platforms, and feel free to include the hashtag #TVInterviews

Here are some criteria to look for and to comment on:

  1. Camera angle
  2. Lighting
  3. Background
  4. Glare
  5. Distractions
  6. Posture
  7. …plus anything else that you observe that your professional colleagues should either duplicate or avoid.

Share them via:

@gbraud on Twitter

Gerard Braud on LinkedIn

The BraudCast on YouTube

Braud Communications on Facebook

After you share your observations, I’ll share them back with our community so you’ll be better prepared if you or one of your team members is called upon to do a television interview via your computer from home.

Should you need in-depth training, we can provide you with remote media training for remote interviews as well as train-the-trainer remote training so you can coach your executives and subject matter experts. To learn more, schedule a call: https://calendly.com/braud/15min

Many of the techniques you have learned in traditional media training still apply. Yet, at the same time, there are some clear distinctions and additional burdens. Think of it this way: In a traditional television interview, the news crew is responsible for things you never need to think about, such as:

  • lighting
  • audio quality
  • the background view
  • background noise
  • the camera angle
  • and more

Whereas you traditionally needed to focus on:

  • what you were going to say
  • your wardrobe
  • your body language
  • and more

Suddenly, you have to do both your job and their job.

It isn’t easy. I’ll work on a checklist for all of you, but by all means, if you need professional training we’re here to be your training partner.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

How to Use Social Media for Crisis Communications

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

Photo by Sam McGhee on Unsplash

What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given for doing media interviews?

There are a number of things to consider when doing a media interview. Interviewees and spokespeople must not only focus on what to say, but they need to practice their nonverbal communication skills as well. Whether a media interview is for print, television, or radio, there are a number of strategies CEO’s, executives, and subject matter experts can use to help their media interview run smoothly and help them communicate effectively, especially in a crisis.

To inspire online discussion, crisis communications expert Gerard Braud asks his social media followers, public relations professionals, and media relations experts, “What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given for doing media interviews?” Have you heard one piece of advice that has stuck with you over the years? We want you to comment here and on our social media pages to share your answers. You and your colleagues can benefit from this online discussion. Your answers may be featured in our follow-up video!

This question is one of a series of debates in the media relations, crisis communications, public relations, and social media industries where you and your colleagues can share observations with each other. Yes, YOU are invited to share your bite-size bits of best practices. Here is how:

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: You will see a short video that poses a new question every Monday. You then post your best practices and observations on The BraudCast YouTube channel.

Step 3: Once your opinion is shared, you can follow the discussion online so you can compare your best practices to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the follow-up Friday Video where you will see a short YouTube video outlining some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our BraudCast video, bringing you world-wide fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, and more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Please take 2 seconds now to subscribe to The BraudCast.

Tips From Our Viewers: What Should You Wear in a Media Interview?

Spokespeople, public relations professionals, subject matter experts, even CEOs and senior level executives may need to decide what to wear for a print, radio, or televised media interview. So, we polled social media to ask our viewers, “What should you wear in a media interview?” The experts have weighed in, commenting with bite-sized bits of their best media relations practices. The results are in and you can hear their tips on this week’s BraudCast follow-up video below. Some viewers commented that you must dress for the industry you work in, while others emphasized feeling comfortable in your media interview clothing and dressing for the occasion.

Do you agree with these comments?

 

Click here to watch

Click here to watch

 

This question is one of a series of debates in the media relations, crisis communications, public relations, and social media industries where you and your colleagues can share observations with each other. Yes, YOU are invited to share your bite size bits of best practices. Here is how:

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: You will see a short video that poses a new question every Monday. You then post your best practices and observations on The BraudCast YouTube channel.

3: Once your opinion is shared, you can follow the discussion online so you can compare your best practices to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the Follow up Friday Video where you will see a short YouTube video outlining some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our BraudCast video, bringing you world-wide fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, and more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Please take 2 seconds now to subscribe to The BraudCast.

Share your media relations advice: Is it ever okay to go off the record?

By Gerard Braud

 

Click here to watch & subscribe to the BraudCast

Click here to watch & subscribe to the BraudCast

Speaking off of the record is triggered by either an incentive from the spokesperson or a suggestion from the reporter. It usually happens when the interview reaches an impasse because the spokesperson knows that if he says more, his comments will compromise a relationship or expose confidential information. Sometimes the spokesperson would like the information to be known publicly, but not be associated with him.

When the discussion reaches an impasse, the reporter might suggest, “Would you be willing to tell me off the record?” Sometimes the spokesperson might initiate the agreement by suggesting, “If I tell you, can we keep it off the record?”

It is ever appropriate to talk off the record to a reporter? Could it harm or benefit your reputation and your revenue? We are are posing this question on the BraudCast YouTube Channel for corporate communications, public relations, and media relations professionals. We are asking you to weigh in this week on our social media pages with your expert advice, and we may feature your answers in the follow up video later this week.

This question is one of a series of discussion questions about media relations, crisis communications, public relations, and social media. Yes, YOU are invited to share your bite size bits of best practices each week. Here is how:

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: You will see a short video that poses a new question every Monday. You then post your best practices and observations on The BraudCast YouTube channel.

3: Once your opinion is shared, you can follow the discussion online so you can compare your best practices to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the Follow up Friday Video where you will see a short YouTube video outlining some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our BraudCast video, bringing you world-wide fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, and more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Please take 2 seconds now to subscribe to The BraudCast.

You Answered: What is the Best Way to Get in Touch with a Busy Reporter?

By Gerard Braud

Public relations and communications professionals know that it takes a long term relationship with the media in order to grab their attention. That is why I asked for your bite-sized bits of best practices for getting in touch with busy reporters. Senior communicators weighed in on our social media accounts and I am sharing their answers in this follow-up video. Please share your comments on our social media and subscribe to the weekly question on the BraudCast YouTube Channel to participate each week.

Click here to watch and subscribe to the BraudCast

Click here to watch and subscribe to the BraudCast

This question is one of a series of discussion questions about media relations, crisis communications, public relations, and social media. Yes, YOU are invited to share your bite size bits of best practices each week. Here is how:

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: You will see a short video that poses a new question every Monday. You then post your best practices and observations on The BraudCast YouTube channel.

3: Once your opinion is shared, you can follow the discussion online so you can compare your best practices to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the Follow up Friday Video where you will see a short YouTube video outlining some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our BraudCast video, bringing you world-wide fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, and more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Please take 2 seconds now to subscribe to The BraudCast.

BraudCast Question: What is your best advice to persuade your executives or CEO to take a media training class?

By Gerard Braud

CEOs and executives may fear embarrassment in a media training class, they may have a hectic schedule, or can’t justify spending their revenue on a media trainer. Public relations professionals and internal communications professionals often have a difficult time getting their CEO or executives to put media training on their calendar. This week the BraudCast question is, “What is your best advice to persuade your executives or CEO to take a media training class?” Please share your thoughts.

CEO media training 3Q braudcast

Click image to watch video

 

 

This question is one of a series of debates in the media relations, crisis communications, public relations, and social media industries where you and your colleagues can share observations with each other. Yes, YOU are invited to share your bite size bits of best practices. Here is how:

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: You will see a short video that poses a new question every Monday. You then post your best practices and observations on The BraudCast YouTube channel.

3: Once your opinion is shared, you can follow the discussion online so you can compare your best practices to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the Follow up Friday Video where you will see a short YouTube video outlining some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our BraudCast video, bringing you world-wide fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, and more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Please take 2 seconds now to subscribe to The BraudCast.

BraudCast Question: How quickly do you need to issue a public statement when a crisis happens?

Organizations often spend hours writing press releases and public statements and reviewing them with their public relations professionals and legal teams before they are ever presented to the media. This only allows the media to become impatient and frustrated and eyewitnesses to begin speculating.  For effective crisis communications and employee communications, how fast should a company release a public statement in a crisis?

Braudcast public statement

Click image to play

This question is one of a series of debates in the media relations, crisis communications, public relations, and social media industries where you and your colleagues can share observations with each other. Yes, YOU are invited to share your bite size bits of best practices. Here is how:

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: You will see a short video that poses a new question every Monday. You then post your best practices and observations on The BraudCast YouTube channel.

3: Once your opinion is shared, you can follow the discussion online so you can compare your best practices to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the Follow up Friday Video where you will see a short YouTube video outlining some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our BraudCast video, bringing you world-wide fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, and more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Please take 2 seconds now to subscribe to The BraudCast.

Tutorial #15 How to Prepare for a Live Skype Interview with Local or National Media

Tutorial # 15 By Gerard Braud

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

In this series of 23 articles and videos, you will learn the skills needed to film and publish an online news report video about your crisis. If your event is newsworthy and your video is shot professionally, it could lead to a live interview with local or national media.  If you are a spokesperson, public information officer (PIO), public relations professional or government agency, you should highly consider this process as a part of your crisis communications and media relations strategy.

If CNN sees your iReport and they like the content, a CNN producer will visit your profile page on CNN.com. They will collect your phone number and e-mail address and contact you, asking you to be a live guest on one of their programs.

Once a SKYPE connection has been established, you must be able to hear the producer talking to you and you must be able to hear the news anchors talking to you. If you are in a quiet location, you can turn up the volume on your smart phone or tablet and likely hear them just fine. But if there is a lot of background noise or blowing wind, you may find it necessary to use ear buds to hear the producers and news anchors.

Some ear buds have a built in microphone, which is optimal. Chances are, if it is too noisy for you to hear them, it may also be too noisy for them to hear you.

One option I select in some of my live reports is to use a USB SKYPE headset with my laptop. These headsets plug into my computer’s USB port. The headsets have earmuffs, that block out external noise so I can hear the news producers and news anchors. It also has a microphone on a flexible arm that gets very close to my mouth. This microphone makes it much easier for them to hear me, without them hearing the background noise.

Watch today’s video tutorial to learn more.

The ear buds come free with most smart devices. The USB headphones can be purchased at any electronics retailer.

As with all of the skills shared in these tutorials, you’ll want to practice on a clear sunny day by having a SKYPE call with a colleague. Don’t wait until the day of your crisis to try to sort out the technical aspects of this. The networks give you only one change to get it right. If you blow it, you are blacklisted and they will call someone who knows what they are doing.

This link will take you to my tutorials on the CNN iReporter website. I hope you take the time to view, study, and share all 23 videos and articles.

This link will take you to the index for all of the articles and videos.

If you, like many others, think this information would be valuable as a workshop at a conference or corporate meeting, please call me at 985-624-9976. You can also download a PDF that outlines the program, Social Media iReports.pdf, so you can share it with your meeting planner or training manager.

7 Frightening Media Realities for Public Relations

By Gerard Braud –-

As the media changes, your media relations strategy must change with it. We covered these changes and strategies in detail at the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) conference in San Francisco during my Monday morning workshop, #IABC15 The Changing Media Landscape.

For those of you who attended the workshop, this blog will be part of the continuing education program you were promised. For those who missed the workshop, this will help you learn what the group learned. For those of you who would like a similar workshop for your chapter or professional association, please contact me at gerard@braudcommunications.com.

Before the teach-back segment, here are links to the two additional free training modules I offered to everyone:

Resource #1: 29-Day Media Training Online Program

  • Follow this link
  • Enter coupon code BRAUD
  • Click APPLY
  • When you see this $199 program ring up as $00.00, enter your e-mail address
  • Hit submit order.

Resource #2: 23-Day Video Tutorial for Smartphone News Videos

The changes in the media landscape include:

1) Reduced staffs, i.e. fewer reporters, photographers and journalists to tell your story.

Interviews

Not too long ago a typical network news crew had five people. A typical local television or print crew had a reporter and photographer. Today, newspapers and television stations alike expect a single person to be both the reporter and photographer.

 

2) The “Caught on Video” craze.

PastedGraphic-2With fewer employees to gather the news, the media depend upon videos submitted by eyewitnesses. The media save a lot of money by not having to chase the news and by letting the news come to them. However, verifying authenticity and facts is a problem. The old rule of, “consider the source,” seems to have gone out the window.

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caughtonvideoStatistics provided by IQ Media show that in the past three years, there has been a monumental jump in the number of times the phrase “caught on video” is said on television broadcasts.

 

 

3) Substituting Trending for NewsPastedGraphic-3

Virtually every television news cast and every media website feature a segment about what is trending. This means that television airtime and web space are being filled with fluff provided by social media, rather than news gathered by professionals.

Statistics provided by IQ Media show that in the past three years, there has been a monumental jump in the number of times the phrase “trending” is said on television broadcasts.

trending

 

4) Judgment Day is Everyday

The media have also substituted real news with social media comments from people who judge other people. A perfect example is the condemnation after the U.S. Navy rescued a family from their sinking sailboat on April 6, 2014. The parents had a small child on board and social media lit up with mean comments, which made up a huge part of the news coverage.

PastedGraphic-8

 

5) Pretend In-Depth Coverage

CNN looked foolish with their all-in attempt to cover the Malaysia 370 plane disappearance. Non-stop coverage of a single issue means fewer employees are needed than if your network covered a variety of issues affecting the lives of viewers.

 

6) Fake Breaking News

Combined with the pretend in-depth coverage is fake breaking news. The television media have a need to put up a banner across the screen each time they learn one new detail, regardless of how silly it is.

PastedGraphic-4 PastedGraphic-5

 

Among the many crazy things that CNN called “breaking news” in the Malaysia 370 story, is first breaking the news that the final words from the crew were, “Alright, good night.” The next day it was “breaking news” that the final words were, “Good night Malaysia three seven zero.”

Really CNN? In my time as a journalist we would have called that an error and a correction.

Statistics provided by IQ Media show that in the past three years, there has been a monumental jump in the number of times the phrase “breaking news” is said on television broadcasts.

PastedGraphic-6

 

Solutions to Media Changes

Among the many solutions we discussed, is the need to recognize that in the future, the media will expect you to provide video from any crisis experienced by your company, as well as a narrative. They will expect you to do a selfie style video directly from the scene.

Such videos are hard to do and require training and practice. While the interactive portion of our workshop taught some of the basic skills, the online 23-part tutorial will teach you even more.

Media Training Case Study: Political Season Is Upon Us

Hermain CainBy Gerard Braud

In yesterday’s article I mentioned The New York Times called me Friday for a comment about Rand Paul’s hostile interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. When the Times starts calling for observations, that means the political season is in full swing.

You can learn a lot about your own media interview dos and don’ts during campaigns, especially the presidential campaigns. We’ll take some time this week to look at a few lessons from the current presidential campaign, as well as the last campaign.

We can learn two lessons from the 2012 failed campaign of former pizza CEO Herman Cain.

Lesson #1: Always consider the financial impact of your words. (See Chapter #2 of Don’t Talk to the Media Until…)

Lesson #2: When you have big negatives in your past, you must be ready to explain them to the media the day you decide you want to be a candidate. Therefore you must spend time to craft your answer, then practice that answer, and be able to deliver it flawlessly the day you get asked about it.

Lesson #3: Don’t be in denial about your negatives. The media will eventually find out, ask you about it and you’ll need a perfect quote and explanation.

The Herman Cain lesson begins with the fact that he had, according to reports, been accused by several women of sexual harassment. His employer at the time settled out of court and the accusers signed a confidentiality agreement about the settlements. However, before the settlement was signed, it is possible that these women discussed their cases with their friends. You can also bet that opposing campaigns hired opposition research experts who would eventually discover this. Those researchers will look for an opportunity to leak it to the media. The media_If you could attach a dollar to every-1 eventually asked Herman Cain the question, “Have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?” Cain replied, “Well have you ever been accused of sexual harassment?”

Really Herman? You wanted to be the President of the United States and on the day you announced your candidacy you didn’t know how you would answer your toughest question? This is such a rookie mistake, yet also a typical mistake of high powered people.

Why?

Regarding Lesson #1: The day after this quote aired, Cain told everyone it wasn’t hurting his campaign and that checks were still coming in from supporters. The reality is checks were arriving from people who wrote them before the bad quote. The checks stopped rolling in later that week and the campaign ended. My opening sentence in each media training class I teach is the question, “If you could attach a dollar to ever word you say, would you make money or lose money?” Herman Cain’s situation proved this point.

Regarding Lesson #2: The day a candidate launches their campaign, they must have their quotes written and practiced for every negative in their lives. Failure to do so is unprofessional. In public relations, failure of a PR person to do this for their company and failure of the C-Suite to know the answers is unacceptable and amateurish. It is the job of the PR team and the job of the executives to be prepared. As a public relations person, you must be willing to push your CEO hard enough that if he or she doesn’t listen, you are willing to quit your job.

Regarding Lesson #3: Every candidate has negatives, just as every company has negatives. It is only a matter of time before an opponent learns of the negatives and tips off the media. It is better for you to acknowledge this and prepare for this than to live your life hoping it never gets discovered. Hope is not a public relations or crisis communications strategy.

Next, we’ll apply these lessons to Hilary Clinton.