1. Mastering the Media

This master-class will focus on drawing out key journalistic messages that your organisation wants to communicate. The training looks at how best to achieve clear, simple messages in a variety of situations, with an emphasis on TV, radio and print media. Current example of news stories will be used and we will focus on how to draw out simple messages from a complex story, as well as achieving press coverage in an environment of press fatigue. We will also look at potential lines to take during a bad news or breaking crisis situation.

The course will cover:

  • editorial agendas
  • what is news?
  • developing a message that journalists and their audiences will understand
  • breaking news, and cutting through the noise
  • lines to take during a crisis
  • sorry is the hardest word…
  • structuring an effective press release


2. On Air Presentation Skills

This course has been designed for those aiming to create a compelling presentation style and make a real impact with their audience. The training will concentrate on personal style through an authentic and authoritative voice and how to leave the audience with a lasting impression.

We will cover tips and techniques used by professional presenters and the importance of storytelling in any presentation format. Each delegate will script and record a presentation at the end of the course. The course will be delivered by experienced BBC producers and reporters who have worked with some of the most successful presenters in sport, factual and news journalism.

The course will cover:

  • creating a compelling presentation style
  • establishing credibility
  • the audience
  • scripting and the importance of storytelling
  • good practice and bad practice
  • rehearsing and ‘scripted’ natural presentation
  • feeling confident and how to relax on air
  • the audience takeaway


3. Effective Media Interviews

This course will focus on briefing experts, pundits or commentators for effective media interviews, particularly for “difficult” topics. The course will be divided into two parts. The first part will focus on understanding editorial and news agendas in the mainstream press, the news “pyramid,” deciding key messages and communicating the messages effectively. The second part of the course will focus on briefing for effective interviews, including:

  • what makes an effective interview?
  • storytelling techniques
  • push button issues: uncovering sensitive areas
  • preparing for difficult questions
  • techniques: bridging, blocking, flagging
  • communication styles, and finding your voice
  • preparing for media interviews
  • live versus recorded: what to ask in advance
  • editorial control and how to take it
  • fact, comment and opinion

The course will be led by experienced radio producers and journalists.


4. Crisis Communication

This is a masterclass in crisis management from a communications perspective. It will be led by Caroline Elliot, a former crisis management lead for BBC Radio and is a scenario-based course in which a number of different potential crises will be worked through. Examples could include, but not be restricted to, the Tim Hunt / UCL case, Dr Matt Taylor and the Rosetta Mission, and the MMR Scare. Lessons will be drawn from effective and ineffective crisis management: for example, the Alton Towers accident, in contrast to Thomas Cook’s handling of the death of two children on holiday in Corfu, and the recent VW emissions scandal. Caroline will bring in personal experience of the Ross/Brand/Andrew Sachs prank call (Sachsgate), and the cost to business and reputation of such events.

The course will cover:

  • clarity of roles during a crisis scenario
  • rehearsal of roles
  • internal communications and instructions to staff (including their use of social media)
  • communicating with staff during a dangerous crisis, including next of kin
  • external communications and getting the message right
  • briefing experts
  • handling social media v mainstream media


5. Shutting down the social media storm

This aspect of crisis communications is so important that it merits a stand-alone course, following on from “crisis communications.” We will look at case studies in which organisations had an ineffective social media strategy (and what went wrong), including those where the organisation’s response to negative publicity became the story in the press. We will also look at examples of good practice (for example the case of 02 responding in person to every tweet after a power outage). Key lessons will include how to respond to social media via social media, rather than relying on a standard corporate response.

We will compare and contrast different strategies and end the session with delegates writing their own “social media crisis handbook,” which will include a clear delineation of roles, clarity of response, and ways of working with mainstream, as well as social media, to shut down the “storm”.

The course will be led by a journalist and social media expert.


6. Pitching for media outlets

This course looks at what makes a story for mainstream media outlets, and how best to pitch an idea, from the point of view of experienced journalists used to getting stories on air and in the press.

The course will cover:

  • knowing your audience
  • building relationships
  • what makes a story?
  • the news hook
  • choosing your outlet
  • the editorial meeting
  • selling your story
  • the email pitch
  • photography and graphics
  • interviewees
  • press toolkits and making it easy
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