Is Media Training Relevant Anymore?
The internet and social media have forever changed the way traditional media and the news process operates. So, it follows that corporations and organisations need to review the future role of their spokespeople, their (multi) media communication skills and the training they need to fulfil these.
Director Sam Elam discusses changes to media training, interview techniques and the need for on camera presentation skills.
So is traditional media training still relevant?
Those who answer “No!” would argue that with the mainstream media – dying a slow (some would say fast!) death – media skills training is now redundant, just like the hundreds of journalists caught in the mass layoffs in recent years.
They would also argue that there are fewer journalists left as well as opportunities for proactive commentary or reactive response; so, they argue, why bother with training? How shortsighted and ‘old school’!
The new reality of media skills training.
The opposite is true and clearly points to increased importance of maintaining or improving your executives’ media, communication and presentation skills through ongoing training.
Far from withering to virtual extinction, the media world has exploded.
Here are just a few changes to think about;
- TV shows are no longer just aired at the time slot in the TV guide but round-the-clock online, ‘on demand’ viewing with updates and commentary on media’s Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds;
- Traditional print publishers are now online, multimedia entities, hosting radio and TV clips compiled by their newly, multi-skilled reporters or publishing material from affiliated stations alongside their own content;
- Underscoring them all are wire service reporters filing endless stories from numerous mainstream, online and social media sources.
Roll all those realities up with the growing demand for multimedia content – such as corporate video presentations; marketing content pitched to bloggers, online magazines and digital mastheads (because not all businesses will be in the mainstream news cycle) – and the need to know how to properly and professionally present yourself and your messages cannot be emphasised enough.
Even more reason to ensure you undertake any media interview with your eyes wide open, confidently knowing how to control what you say and how you say it.
Multimedia skills training
“In simple terms, what’s changed is the type and choice of media channel, the delivery method and the nature of the journalist,” says Sam Elam, Managing Director of Media Manoeuvres.
“By contrast, what has NOT changed are the ground rules for media engagement that businesses must understand.”
In short, your interview can be published online – whether in third party media titles or on your own corporate website, then ‘lifted’ and rebroadcast by other journalists then recycled again by yet more media outlets and social media.
“How this is all relevant to media training is that regardless of the medium, spokespeople still have to interact with journalists of all types to get to their point and messages across and to keep their key messages clear – and that’s where skills training to include media training and on-camera presentation skills comes in,” said Elam.
The embracing of social by reporters
Initially slow to embrace the preferred channels of digital natives, reporters are fast claiming their own ground on social media, particularly Twitter.
With such a crowded landscape, the attention span of the media consumer is diminishing and the clamour of the internet and social media means key messages need to be even simpler in structure and sharper in substance.
“All of which reinforces the need to manage your message from the outset, or be put at great disadvantage,” explains Elam.
The need for media training of executives and leadership teams is far from diminishing. The foundation principles and skills of delivering clear, succinct, strategic messages applies as ever before but with a much wider spread of channels, through which, they must now be delivered.