As someone who works on the ‘other side’ of the media in a purely technical capacity coordinating live shots for TV news, I found some of Simons ‘war stories’ really, interesting and it opened my eyes to a journalistic side I hadn’t considered before and so I found the media training with Simon useful.
Understanding what the media are looking for from researchers and academics and how you can best prepare yourself for the questions was useful including what ‘off the record’ really means and to ensure that all recording devices are off!
From advice around setting yourself up as an expert through writing blog posts and having the confidence to approach outlets with stories, there was a lot to fit in in the hour and from a practical media perspective, Simons training helped me realise that if you don’t want to see something in print, best policy is to keep your cakehole shut!
Top tips like asking for questions in advance can help you formulate a concise answer and not being scared to say ‘that’s not my area of expertise’ rather than get caught in a trap of your own making by commenting about areas you’re not an expert in. I think one of the most useful skills is being able to distil and communicate your research area to a wide audience using plain English and it’s something I need to think about and practice more and Simons training has helped me realise it is a talent to speak comprehensively and concisely about your subject area.
Finally, Simon carried out an interview with me which highlighted how easy it is to waffle on and then find that I’d completely forgotten the question he’d asked after 30 seconds! I have considerably more empathy with the guests I help set up for live news now!