Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Finally a lesson from politics worth keeping

By guest blogger Bruce Madden

A week is a long time in politics. But it's just a tad longer for journos covering the often bizarre world of hung parliament politics. Add in this week's COAG interplay between the Feds and the States and bizarre goes to downright absurd.

As a former editor turned PR/media trainer who has spent the best part of a decade educating Financial Services executives how to behave when a microphone is switched on, I am on the constant lookout for examples to illustrate a few key points.

By the way, the expression "media training" has its own identity crisis, which is a whole other story. But in my book, training people for media is actually about helping to shape people as worthy participants in the game of media. I don't endorse the rote learning approach to media training which is to have folks memorize a bland statement and repeat, no matter what the question. I stick to the basics. Or stuff you might assume to be basic.

Like don't attack or threaten a journalist. Don't ever offer a dead bat "no comment" to a question, especially the questions you don't like. Don't, under any circumstances, avoid answering a question, feign a faint, spontaneously burst into song or walk away from a doorstop interview pretending to speak on your mobile phone, throwing a lame threat over your shoulder to call the cops!

Yes, I refer here to the Labor Senator Mark Bishop's efforts in Canberra airport this week. A classic piece of footage that went to air on the ABC this week and which will provide much for future BlueChip media training programs.

The past week yielded another gem - in the media "what not to do's" category. Queensland Premier Campbell Newman's declaration of bankruptcy ahead of the COAG meetings goes down as one of the best.

As they say in Spain "sin duda ha sido una larga semana en la politica"

"It surely has been a long week in politics."

Bruce Madden is BlueChip Communication Director and co-founder

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