Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'David Lange'

On David Shearer, Ian Fraser and the Bespoke Art of Media Training

 

 The news that David Shearer is to ‘get media training’ from Ian Fraser in order to make him more visible to the electorate has tended to reinforce the notion that ‘getting media training’ is rather like getting a new suit from Hallenstein’s.  All you have to do is put the new suit on and you’ll immediately not merely look better but be a whole new person. Unfortunately media training doesn’t fit this prêt-à-porter model. It’s a bespoke art. Everyone’s  needs are different,  no two people’s measurements are exactly the same, and there are some people who will never look good in anything.  

I’ll abandon this analogy before I invite derision,  but it serves to make the point that you can’t just ‘get media training’ in the same way that you might  ‘get trained’ to drive a car, a skill in which most people are capable of being competent at least and which even indifferent drivers can teach you. Here, by the way, the Maggie Barry Principle applies – if you’ve never been a professional interviewer and haven’t had wide experience of all branches of the media, you’ve not really qualified to talk about media-training, let alone engage in it.

It’s rare for the diagnosis of what is ailing an interviewee to be obvious. With the exception of ‘umming and erring’, saying ‘you know’, ‘like’ , ‘I guess’, ‘absolutely’, ‘going forward’, ‘OK, so’ at least once in every paragraph, what prevents someone from coming across well on radio or television is often extremely subtle and quite difficult to pin down.  Read the rest of this entry »

43 Comments , , , ,

I Invent a New Law of Politics, called “Catch 23″

I’m delighted that Judy has posted the famous/infamous interview between Simon Walker and Rob Mulddon on the presence of Russian warships in the Indian Ocean. Simon is an old friend. We worked together both as television colleagues and, later, as advisors to David Lange and the Labour Party after Muldoon drunkenly  announced the snap election in 1984. I wrote Lange’s opening television address. Simon was a left-winger then, or so we thought, but his actual allegiance was with the laissez- faire Douglas faction. He would go on to work for a large PR company in Britain, a right-wing think-tank and Her Majesty the Queen inter alia.

Simon, possibly the smoothest and most urbane person I have ever known, was an excellent interviewer. But it was the Muldoon confrontation that really made his name. A remarkable achievement, made all the more remarkable because pretty well every propositon he puts to Mr Muldoon is wrong in fact or implication. And it is a bit rich to supply an interviewee with a list of questions you want answered and then not allow him to answer them. But it’s still great television.

A couple of years later, I wrote this piece for the Dominion Sunday Times. Almost 25 years later, the names may be different, but everything else remains true.

**********

Catch 23

I have invented a new law that will save the nation – from everything. I call it Catch 23.

Clause One of Catch 23 states: Only those of sound mind may hold office as Members of Parliament.

Clause Two states: Any person seeking election to Parliament shall, ipso facto, be deemed to be of unsound mind.   Read the rest of this entry »

11 Comments , , , , ,