Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Photo-Ops'

A Beginner’s Guide to Getting to and Staying at the Top of the Polls – Part Three

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‘Photo-Op PM’ Revisited

Pic: NZPA

Pic: NZPA

Pic: Maggie Tait
Pic: Maggie Tait
Pic: Maggie Tait
Pic: Maggie Tait

 

 

 

 

 More than 20 years ago Judy and I ran a 2-day media training seminar for 150 business executives in Wellington.  The final session took the form of a panel discussion, which included former Prime Minister Rob Muldoon. During the discussion Sir Robert referred to the diffiiculty cabinet ministers often faced in responding to what he called ‘television’s forceful visual images’.

From memory, he used the example of an elderly woman complaining about the inadequacy of the pension. The pleasant looking woman is interviewed in her little pensioner flat. She is seated in an armchair with a blanket around her shoulders. A raggedy looking moggy is asleep in her lap. She complains of the cold and of not being able to afford to keep a heater running in the flat. She often stays in bed to keep warm. It’s impossible for her to afford anything but the barest necessities. She regards a banana once a week as a luxury. She’d love to get out a bit more, but could not possibly afford the expense of owning a car. It’s heartrending stuff and there’s more, much more.

After the film has been shown, the Minister of Social Welfare is interviewed in the television studio. He expresses sympathy for the elderly woman and outlines a number of services and special benefits that are available to someone in her situation. But he might as well not bother. His coolly rational responses, delivered in the hostile and sterile atmosphere of the television studio, cannot match the emotionally charged scene which the viewer has just watched. Television’s ‘forceful visual images’ almost invariably take the day.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Photo-Op PM

Photo: Michael Field

Photo: Michael Field

Recently I bumped into Paul Henry having coffee with his daughter in trendy Herne Bay. He’s really very nice when you meet him in person off the box. Or maybe it was the civilising presence of his very nice daughter.

Anyway, we got to talking politics, as you do. He was enthusing about John Key whom he’d interviewed that morning. ‘The thing about him,’ he said, ‘is that he just answers the question. You ask him a question and he just answers it. ‘

I’d formed precisely the same impression watching Key on television. He seems natural, unaffected, nice. There’s no sense of the wheels going round in his head as he searches for a clever, stay-out-of-trouble answer. Nothing obviously  Machiavellian. No evident side. ‘He just answers the question.’

Read the rest of this entry »

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