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Media Training: Your Story

  March 26, 2024

Bad press. Conspiracy theories. Gossip. Allegations.  And it's about YOU.  How do you respond?  Tell your story in your own words.  There are several ways to do this, and you'll need to decide how comfortable you are with each format before proceeding.  You could:

  • Do a live TV interview with a journalist you trust (some risk with this option)
  • Post your own video statement on social media (you are your own producer)
  • Provide your own video statement to broadcast outlets (media may want more, but will they air it)
  • Make a live statement to assembled media (this will buy you some time)

There are a number of  examples in the news of high profile individuals taking their story directly to the public.

  • Amid conspiracy theories about Princess Catherine's health, she told her own story on video.  Kate came off sincere and relatable as she disclosed she is being treated for cancer.  The Princess reportedly wrote the copy herself.  While I think the Royal PR team failed miserably in the months since her surgery, Princess Catherine showed great poise in her video and it is a teachable moment for us all.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger shared news about his latest heart surgery on his own podcast.  He disclosed that he had a pacemaker installed. Schwarzenegger said that sharing health details, "goes against so much of my upbringing in Austria."  Still he decided to get the word out to his podcast subscribers. Naturally news outlets picked up the story.  He beat the tabloids to a story and likely did some good for people facing similar health issues.
  • LA Dodgers' star Shohei Ohtani has been in the media glare  after the organization fired his interpreter and opened an investigation into gambling allegations.  It was reported that Ohtani's funds were used to pay off the interpreter's gambling debts.  Is Ohtani an innocent dupe or is there more to the story?Hordes of media gathered and listened as Ohtani, speaking through a new interpreter, said he did not bet on baseball or anything and that his longtime friend and interpreter stole from him. Ohtani did not take any questions. So I would not call this a press conference. Reporters were no doubt disappointed.  But at this stage, it was a smart move.  

If you find yourself in a tricky situation and need to get your story out, I recommend you consult with a media trainer/crisis communications professional as well as your lawyer.  Off the cuff remarks can make a bad situation even worse.  But if you are too rehearsed you may come off unnatural and insincere.  The bottom line is ask for help and choose a platform that works for you.


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