Media Relations Basic Training with “Dr. Joe” – Takeaways from media relations expert Dr. Joe Trahan

by Katie Essner on December 8, 2011

A few months ago the Carr Marketing Communications staff had the pleasure of attending a Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) seminar presented by Dr. Joseph V. Trahan, III, APR, fellow PRSA. Dr. Trahan is president, CEO and media trainer at Trahan & Associates and has more than 25 years of public relations/affairs experience in governmental, association, educational and non-profit public relations.

A retired Lieutenant Colonel of the United States Army Reserve and former Commander of the 314th Public Affairs Operations Center, Dr. Trahan successfully operated four Joint Information Bureaus and one Joint Information Center and has also served as the former media trainer for Colin Powell.

Dr. Trahan reinforced many of the tools and tips we use to conduct media our training program, which we have conducted for more than 20 years.

We’d like to share a few of our takeaways with you:

  • In media training, you will develop key messages that will help guide you through the interview and serve as talking points. Key messages should be short, clear, honest and simple.
  • Always, always prepare for an interview. Try to find out as much information as possible beforehand about who will interview you, where the interview will be and what questions will be asked.
  • Saying “no comment” in today’s world means you’re guilty. When preparing for an interview, identify any questions that cannot be answered directly and craft answers so you’re not resorting to this media relations no-no.
  • There is no such thing as off the record. Anything you say to a reporter can or will be used. Their job in interviewing you is to tell a story, and if you give them information that they can use in the story, whether disclosed as on or off the record, it will most likely be used.
  • People remember 85 percent of what they see and 15 percent of what they hear.
  • Always get professional help and don’t assume that you can adequately prepare yourself for an interview.

At Carr, we believe all company executives and spokespersons should experience media training in order to represent the brand and articulate messages clearly. Contact us if you’d like to be media trained or spruce up your skills. You never know when you might face a camera or field questions from a reporter.