Better media interviews

The election has changed the rules of media interviews

May 26, 2010

For the last 13 years we have got used to a certain type of media interview.  The interviewer is aggressive and the interviewee is trying to get their points across, often without any true conversation.

Listening to Ed Miliband on the Andrew Marr show last week was typical of this style.  But, post election, Ed sounded so last government: hectoring, arrogant and not listening.

media training course near London The new coalition politics seem to be changing this.  Media interviews with new ministers sound very different.  The new coalition seems less concerned about sound bites and repeated messages.  As a consequence the interviews are softening.  Interviewees now focus more on understanding and explanation.   The interviewer gets to think a bit more and help make complex stories understandable.

But, what does this mean for media training?  We believe the rules have changed.  While clear messages are as important as ever, the dialogue with the media is becoming more sophisticated.  The old-fashioned “I’ve got a message and I’m going to keep repeating it” now sounds boorish; and an interviewer who just wants to catch someone out sounds unpleasant.  This is true for business as well as for politics.

Media Training for the 2010s

Our media training is adapting for the 2010s.  Our delegates need to be prepared for the changing tone of media interview and for the  more sophisticated approach journalists are taking.  This means fewer question-avoiding techniques, and more explanation and interpretation.  Typically, a good interviewee will now help the audience understand the consequence of an event, rather that the fact of the event itself.

It will take a few months to see how much this coalition government really has changed the face of the media – as it has changed the face of  politics. But the rules of the media interview have changed, and media interviews now need a different type of preparation.


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