Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Public Relations'

If all you need to do is tell the truth, why do people need media training?

Hard Talk's Stephen Sackur

The debate over Mark Hotchin’s interview with Mark Sainsbury on Close Up  has produced the usual shibboleths about Public Relations and Media Training. The practitioners of these dark arts are seen  either as miracle workers who can make sinners look like saints – referred to in the advertising world as ‘polishing a turd’ –  or as shysters making a killing from teaching people how to successfully lie in interviews and thus pull the wool over the eyes of the general public.  If either of these outcomes were possible, Judy and I would not be blogging about the Hotchins, we’d be with them in Hawaii, only in a much nicer spot in a much nicer house.

The “miracle-worker” version is rooted in the idea that readers, listeners and viewers are idiots who can be easily taken in by the practised sleight of hand of the PR/media trained interviewee.  But it simply isn’t so. And especially not on television.

This is what the great doyen of British interviewers, Sir Robin Day, had to say about the televised political interview:

“When a TV interviewer questions a politician, this is one of the rare occasions, perhaps the only occasion outside Parliament, when a politician’s performance cannot be completely manipulated or packaged or artificially hyped. Some TV answers can, of course, be prepared by scriptwriters and committed to memory, but not all. The answers cannot be on autocue as for an address to camera.

 “The image-maker can advise on how to sit, or what hairstyle to have, or on voice quality. But once the interview has started, the politician is on his or her own… Provided there is time for probing  cross-examination, the politician cannot be wholly shielded against the unexpected. The politician’s own brain is seen to operate. His or her real personality tends to burst out. Truth is liable to raise its lovely head.

 “In a newspaper interview, the politician may flannel or fudge, but in a TV interview the flannelling and fudging can be seen and judged by the viewing public, just as the jury in a court can form their opinion of the candour and the credibility of a witness.”

Our advice to clients has not changed in a quarter of a century. It is: Be straightforward; Tell the truth; Admit your mistakes. Why? Because that’s the only thing that works. Read the rest of this entry »


Of Bullies and Sensitive New Age Guys [Some free advice for Brown and Banks]

Now here’s a curious thing – when the people of Auckland tossed John Banks out as Mayor what they were looking for in a replacement was someone decent, nice, caring, maybe even just a bit saintly. And that is precisely what they got in Dick Hubbard.  But three years later they threw out the decent, nice, caring, maybe even just a bit saintly chap and brought back the not-so-decent, not-so-nice, not-so-caring and definitely not a bit saintly Mr Banks.

What had gone wrong? Well, Mr Hubbard was no less decent, nice, caring, saintly after three years than he was at the beginning. So it can’t have been that. And, though Mr Banks claimed to have turned over a new leaf, we all knew that leopards never really changed their spots and voted him back in anyway.

You see, the trouble was that Dick was a bit wishy-washy and somewhat  eccentric in the way he talked and looked and moved. He wore his religious belief on his sleeve and used high-flown words like ‘vision’ and ‘community’. He really was a nice man, but we didn’t know what to make of him. He made us feel uncomfortable and ill at ease. We’d thought he was what we wanted, but he wasn’t. Read the rest of this entry »


Lunacy and Appalling PR from Air New Zealand

Lee Shelton - TVNZ

Lee Shelton - TVNZ







If you want to know how not to handle a complaint to Fair Go, you could scarcely do better than check out the extraordinary story of Lee Shelton’s attempts to get Air New Zealand to make a minor change to his flight arrangements for a return trip to China.

Lee had booked a domestic Air New Zealand flight from Wellington to Auckland where he would join an international Air New Zealand flight to Beijing. But some time after booking the flights he changed his job and moved to Auckland. So he phoned Air New Zealand to cancel the Wellington-Auckland leg and tell them he would be checking in for the international flight at Auckland. Very reasonable.

Air New Zealand didn’t think so. Lee would have to pay a penalty for making the change to his travel arrangements. He was then offered three options:

1. He could cancel and rebook the entire journey for a fee of $500

2. He could buy a new one-way ticket to Wellington and catch the original flight back to Auckland. Read the rest of this entry »