To help faculty prepare for news media interviews, press conferences and other media events, UM News Service makes use of the media training services of consultant Anthony Collings, an experienced print and broadcast journalist.
His media training consists of working closely with a faculty member to prepare for media events. The training is tailored to the specific concerns, needs and experiences of the faculty member. Tony chats with the trainee to learn more about his or her field of expertise and what questions the trainee is likely to be asked in an interview.Tony was a CNN Washington and foreign correspondent for sixteen years. He was part of a CNN team that won an Emmy award for coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing. Prior to CNN he was Newsweek bureau chief in London and Bonn, Associated Press correspondent in Moscow, London and Bonn, and Wall Street Journal correspondent in New York. He is the author of Words of Fire, a study of journalism as it is practiced under difficult conditions around the world. Tony came to UM as a Marsh Visiting Professor of Journalism and is now a Lecturer in Communication Studies in the Department of Communication Studies in LSA.
Together, the faculty member and Tony create a list of key talking points to cover in any interview, and then they select the most important one. That talking point is then refined into a key quote. Using a television camera and monitor, Tony works with the faculty member to practice using the quote in a series of answers to questions during a simulated interview. The trainee studies the results during playback, and then tries out variations on delivery until the trainee is satisfied that he or she is communicating as effectively as possible.
In addition, Tony answers any questions the faculty member has about the news media and how to deal effectively with journalists, to increase the likelihood that the story will fairly and accurately reflect the main points the faculty member would like to convey to the public. Many of the points covered in the media training are summarized in the document, Media Training Notes. Click on the hyperlink to see the document.
After the training session, Tony remains available as a resource for the faculty member to contact in the future whenever questions arise about dealing with news media.