the secret of successful media relations…. an insider’s guide from
a seasoned journalist

Jane Bird is an experienced media trainer in addition to her main role as a business, consumer and technology journalist. Her training courses are designed to give delegates an inside track into how the mind of a journalist works, what makes a story, and how the media operates.

Courses are highly practical based on role-play interviews and in-depth feedback. The interviews are designed to be as testing as possible in order to explore potential weaknesses or inconsistencies. During her feedback Jane explains what type of story she might have written, which quotes would have been used, and potential danger areas.

Delegates receive clear and simple guidance on how to use examples, analogies, sound bites, cope with difficult questions and deal with concepts such as “off the record.” A range of journalistic tricks and traps is discussed, and strategies for dealing with them suggested. There is a strong focus on how to develop key messages in a way that makes them compelling for journalists.

A three-page handout summarises all the key points covered in the session. Three delegates can complete the course during a half-day session. For four or five delegates a full day is recommended.


during the workshop delegates will:

• Gain a better knowledge of how the media works and how to get the most out of opportunities with journalists
• Take part in role-play highlighting a range of situations e.g. friendly/hostile, knowledgeable/ignorant, ambush/prepared
• Learn how to formulate key messages and package them as interesting stories
• Discover common tricks and traps used by journalists and how to handle them

agenda includes:

• Introductory discussion on participants’ experience of the media.
• Types of journalists and what motivates them, why they behave as they do
• Stories journalists like

• Short tough “ambush” interviews to demonstrate what can go wrong in an unprepared scenario. Feedback on:
• Likely angles and stories that would result
• Good and bad quotes, possible headlines

theory session covering:

• What makes a story
• Lifecycle of a story
• News versus features
• Dealing with tricks and traps including “off the record,” approximations, rumours, inside information, customer complaints, playing colleagues off against each other, false premises, litanies of your ills, switching topics, “anything else?”…
• Questioning tactics such as machine gunning, best mate, interruptions, paraphrasing, dart throwing, silence.

how to prepare for an interview:

• Thinking about the audience and your objectives
• Formulating key messages
• Examples, analogies, anecdotes to support key messages
• Anticipating difficult questions and how to deal with them
• Bridging

• Prepared interviews
• Delegates know the publication, story outline, and identity of journalist
• Time to prepare key messages

• Do’s and don’ts when talking to the media

• Summary
• Questions, lessons learned, identification of real potential story opportunities