3rd May 2018
I remember being told as I was growing up - if you’ve done something wrong, admit it. And say sorry.
It’s the same advice we give to all businesses and organisations we media train. If they’ve made a mistake - don’t spin a story. Just apologise.
I was reminded of it after watching an interview with a woman who has Asperger’s syndrome on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire Programme.
25 year old Tamsin Parker was on the show to discuss what had happened after she’d been ‘forcibly removed’ from the British Film Institute for ‘laughing too much’ during a screening of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
Also on the programme was Jen Smith from the BFI. Ms Smith did what anyone should have done in that situation. She apologised. And it was a genuine apology - you could see she wasn’t afraid of saying it and that she truly meant it. She admitted the BFI staff had got it wrong, said they were going to introduce fresh training for staff AND she called for a wider debate on the lack of awareness about people with autism.
Watch here and make up your own mind...
I think everything she said came across so well as you could tell she meant it. What might have become a damaging story for the BFI and their reputation did not. I only hope Tamsin Parker felt it was genuine too.
2nd May 2018
We watched in horror this week when the boss of Sainsbury’s, Mike Coupe, was caught on camera singing “We’re in the Money”.
He was filmed singing the show tune to himself as he waited in a studio to be interviewed by ITV News after it was announced Sainsbury’s and Asda are set to merge. Many are worried about job losses and store closures. Mr Coupe - a large shareholder in Sainsbury’s - was trying to reassure people this wouldn’t be the case.
But who will ever remember that message after his ‘unguarded’ and impromptu sing song?
It is a golden rule of broadcasting - and something that we drum into our clients on our courses - that whenever you’re in a studio never say or do anything you wouldn’t want to be broadcast.
If you’re in a studio there WILL be microphones and they COULD be on. Even if you’re told nothing is being broadcast - you still have to behave as if something were. Otherwise you could end up having a moment like Mr Coupe’s.
It sounds so obvious. But if a man like Mike Coupe, the head of a corporate giant like Sainsbury’s can forget, it shows no-one is immune from having a moment like this.
In his defence Mr Coupe said he’d had a long day doing dozens of interviews. He’d probably prepared, practised perfected what he was going to say and delivered it faultlessly up until this point. What a waste of all that work.
He was now the story. Then his apology. No one remembers his reassurances.
30th April 2018
I was reading the 5 News bulletins this weekend. Newsrooms and news studios are often quieter at weekends. There are fewer staff and often a more familial atmosphere.
But if you’re asked to do an interview over a weekend - don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by the smaller scale of operations.
And try not to be intimidated by the silence of studios.
The 5 News studio is empty apart from me, the presenter, on a weekend.
And you could be forgiven for thinking that would make coming into a studio with fewer floor managers, producers and runners a far easier environment to do an interview.
But the silence can be deafening. And it can be intimidating.
During our training courses we try to teach all our clients to be comfortable in silence. To finish talking when they’ve said what they want to say and not fill that silence.
As a presenter I get a kick and an adrenaline buzz from the silence just before we go on air. But it’s something I’ve learnt to love. If you’re going to regularly be asked to do interviews in a studio you need to learn how to love it too.
You can currently see Louise presenting and reporting on Channel 5 News. Louise anchored her own show on Bloomberg Television interviewing Europe’s business leaders and politicians. She has covered major news stories as a correspondent for Sky News, Channel 4 News and Bloomberg Television.
Chloe reads the news on Channel 5 News. As a Sky News Presenter Chloe anchored across the channel’s output, interviewing major politicians and analysts, and handling breaking news on a daily basis. She has interviewed people from all walks of life as a reporter and presenter on both television and radio for Sky Arts, Magic FM and Monocle 24.
Adam’s camerawork is on the screen every day across ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. In the past, Adam worked for Sky News where he covered everything from the war in Afghanistan to the Oscars in LA. He has more than 20 years’ experience and his films won Best News Item at the Monte Carlo Television and Film Festival two years running.
Richard has 20 years' experience on the frontline of news. After producing daily bulletins for 5 News, he then took on the role of Deputy Editor before moving to ITV News in the same position.
Now with experience in PR, Richard has real insight into what makes a story - and how best to sell it.