Supplement on Public Relations: Choosing & Using - What you learn

The experts are split as to whether or not a little training is better than none. Some hold that a couple of hours can only deliver superficial help; others say that even this will be of some value.

The experts are split as to whether or not a little training is

better than none. Some hold that a couple of hours can only deliver

superficial help; others say that even this will be of some value.



It is agreed that a course of at least half a day, and preferably a full

day, is needed to cover all the main aspects of the subject, with

periodic top-up sessions.



One of the values of media training is that it helps to overcome

trepidation about being quoted, while explaining why prudence may be

required.



One trainer says: ’Most journalists will report fairly, but you have to

be aware of the exceptions who want to enhance their careers at the

expense of yours.’



There are many types of comment, from the succinct sound-bite called for

in a tightly-timed news programme, to a conversational dialogue with a

feature writer. There is the informal, information-gathering interview

where the spokesperson has the opportunity to explain, elaborate and

qualify.



And there is the aggressive interrogation, seeking evidence of

fault.



Trainers will demonstrate and rehearse the various techniques called

for, from simply being straightforward to fielding the challenging

question, where virtually any answer can be construed as an

admission.



With the printed media, the main consideration is getting across facts

and opinions clearly. With radio, the personality, conveyed by voice,

comes into play. On TV, expression, dress and mannerisms can complement

or detract.



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