interview reviews

Media training requires practice so between crafting your key messages you should listen to good and bad media performers.

Peter Stevenson, chief policy adviser to the UK based group Compassion in Farming was interviewed by ABC Radio National’s Fran Kelly in August 2011 in the lead up to his national lecture tour for Voiceless.

interview skills

Good man. Good talent.

Stevenson played a key role in winning EU bans on veal crates, battery cages and sow stalls, as well as a new status for animals in EU law as sentient beings. He is very good talent indeed. Tune in and listen:

 0.40: opening statement packs a punch – “the worst in the world”. Good talent starts with a blanket statement to set a tone and hopefully a direction.

1.50: graphic details provided without hysteria create cut through and build sympathy.

2.43: specific suggestions / demands – no live export. You must have specific calls to action based on the purpose you have for doing the interview.

3.42: gig plugged nicely! Full names and details. Don’t be shy. Bravo!

3.53: specific, relevant comparisons with Europe.

5.35: readily tackles commonly held unhelpful untrue perception (re cost savings of factory farming) head on.

6.27: provides an extra alternative reason to support his argument – environmental concerns.

Generally: Knowledge, bold statements, polite, speaks slowly conveying authority, clear, passionate but not angry. Persuades rather than simply regaling us with bad news.

Score: 7 out of 10 hooters.

Scott Morrison, federal opposition spokesperson for immigration is the most media- friendly opposition spokesperson for anything since Kevin Rudd. (Brett used to interview Rudd in his radio days. Rudd insisted.)

media training uses scott morrison as example
Ever ready, ever reasonable, ever persuading.

This review isn’t about his policies – it’s about his media performance. He appears reasonable at all times; calm, modulated. He appears 100% confident that his solution will work. He never says no to an opportunity as these two examples from the day after the recent Malaysian High Court ruling demonstrate:

Radio National Breakfast with Fran Kelly

0.10: Opening statement is used to set a tone from the get-go. “They’ve been flailing around for years.” Any listener who might not have known what Morrison stands for beforehand, sure does now.

0.38: Morrison is fully prepared to answer a frequently asked question (that the High Court’s ruling also effectively cancels the Opposition’s Nauru plan.) He has realised in advance what the journalist is likely to ask and is ready to fight. He also shows that he Knows Thy Issues by quoting directly from the High Court judgement.  This is a Hootville communication commandment.

Generally: He mentions “Nauru” repeatedly and is at pains to differentiate Nauru and Malaysia. More and more people will think of “Nauru” as the solution.

3.20: Takes every opportunity to connect the current issue with other (totally unrelated) failures in a bid to diminish any credibility the government may have. This is pure showbiz but it’s a good tactic.

7.30 Report

(Scroll down to the stories on the right hand side of the homepage.)

0.16: Again he’s ready to declare that the High Court’s decision still allows his preferred solution – Nauru.

2.27: Effective use of statistics – the number of people in detention and the cost of detention are both very large. Note: the use of the word “peak”. In actual fact that peak was a while back but as it makes a bigger impact he uses it.

3.28: He doesn’t wait to be asked to dance, he just starts dancing. Too many interviewees will wait to be asked their ideal question but it never comes. Morrison doesn’t wait. “The real issue here Chris is the government’s incompetence has been found out.” 

4.15: “We don’t flip flop.” Again he provides a contrast that he thinks will work for him. Again he broadens the discussion to his advantage.

5.45: He closes by using his opponent’s words against his opponent. Smart.

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