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Press Conference

Roger Goodell Press Conference Is Your #PRFail of the Week

While we didn’t have a chance to watch NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s entire press conference live thanks to our day jobs, we’ve already read enough recaps and seen enough tweets to know that it was a disaster — and not just because of the random annoying Howard Stern guy.

Mediaite has highlights, and here’s the full conference (the audio is a little off, and you’ll note that Goodell doesn’t even appear until the 21 minute mark):

In short: he knows that domestic violence exists, he will establish a conduct ommittee, he has never considered resigning, and he’s “proud” of the “opportunity” to do a better job than the crappy one he did before.

Goodell says that “domestic violence has no place in the NFL” as if it’s some kind of bold stance. And “nothing is off the table” except his own credibility.

He’s also amusingly misspeaks and calls the Super Bowl the “Super War.”

The main conclusion, though: he’s not very good at answering questions!

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President Obama Talked About World Issues, But We Were Distracted By His Suit

President Obama took to the podium during a press conference yesterday to talk about world issues: ISIS and the tension in Ukraine. And while we’re all, of course, interested in these important topics, the country was also obsessed with the president’s tan suit. A lot of people were not impressed. Read more

Steve Ballmer Gets a Little Excited About His New Basketball Team

A clip we somehow missed at EOD yesterday has helped us realize why Steve Ballmer may not have been the best fit for his former employer, Microsoft.

While Ballmer didn’t quite succeed in his ongoing attempt to make the tech dinosaur “cool”, he definitely convinced the folks in the crowd at yesterday’s L.A. Clippers press conference that he really likes basketball. Not that he ever played it, but you know…

We also think we’ve discovered the recently “retired” Ballmer’s true calling: a job as a WWE announcer.

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Derek Jeter at Press Conference: ‘I Didn’t Want This to Be a Press Conference’

Earlier this week we shared a post on media relations lessons learned from the Yankees’ Derek Jeter, so of course we wanted to see what he would say at his “press conference” yesterday.

We weren’t disappointed. Our key takeaway: he really doesn’t like giving press conferences and tries to keep his quotes as simple and stereotypical as possible. We love his stubborn refusal to play the role reporters want him to play.

Check out his response at approximately 19:20 when the reporter asks him how he feels about being compared to past Yankees greats:

Things we learned: some wise souls advised Jeter to delay the announcement.

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10 Lessons from White House Press Secs Fleischer and Gibbs: Witnesses to History, Human Piñatas

Washington DC White House PRN PostBeing White House press secretary is arguably one of the toughest jobs in Washington. While television cameras inside White House press briefings have offered the American public selected snapshots of the job, former press secretaries Robert Gibbs and Ari Fleischer (candidly!) filled in many other details at a recent 92Y event in New York.

Help Wanted Ad: Based on their comments and our takeaways, here’s a brief job description:

“Highly experienced communications exec to serve as spokesperson in political capacity. Able to quickly distill and convey complex material to intensely curious, skeptical audiences. Physically fit since it’s a grinding, grueling exercise. Involves sitting through many meetings, extensive note-taking and speaking from podium. Can withstand being woken up three times during the night. Shows fierce loyalty to boss, but is willing to break bad news. Thick skin so you don’t take it personally, extremely diplomatic, and keen sense of humor. Skilled at assigning press seating charts.”

Ten Lessons Learned, Often the Hard Way:
While Fleischer and Gibbs each met with their predecessors before starting, they still learned a lot on the job, especially from unscripted moments. Crises proved to be pivotal, including the anthrax attack (“We thought it was a wave 2 attack on the U.S.”, said Fleischer) and the Gulf Coast oil spill (“The hardest 3 months of my professional life”, said Gibbs.)

Below is a paraphrased list of ten things they learned, some of which may also apply to corporate spokesperson roles.

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How to Run a Great Press Conference: Add Adorable Children

OK, that headline is a very misleading generalization: in fact, we’d say you should pretty much never feature children in your press conferences. But what if you’re calling on the state of Minnesota to overturn its gay marriage ban? And what if the primary focus of your argument concerns the benefits that families (and children) with same-sex parents miss out on thanks to said ban?

In that case, there’s hardly a more effective way for you to show your audience that your family is just as real as anyone else’s than to hold your infant son while he drives his toy truck across your face and reminds everyone that you’ve gone on a little too long by whispering “I want daddy to stop talking.”

Beyoncé Shows the World How to Respond to a Controversy

So Beyoncé held an unusual press conference today (her first since the lip syncing “controversy” broke). After asking all the media folk gathered in the audience to stand, she belted out an a capella rendering of the “Star Spangled Banner”, effectively telling her haters to shut the hell up before asking attendees if they might possibly have any questions (the final “bitch?” was all but implied). Here’s a crappy capture:

During the following question and answer session, Beyoncé explained that she didn’t have time to rehearse with the orchestra for the inauguration and did not feel comfortable “taking a risk” and singing without a pre-recorded vocal track (because it was “all about the President” anyway). So she sang live while the public heard the backing track, a practice that is “very common in the music industry.”

While she was technically lip syncing at the event, Beyoncé thought she’d take a moment to remind everyone in attendance today that she is perfectly capable of singing the National Anthem, thank you very much.

She just made a lot of people, ourselves included, look kinda dumb for making a big deal about this, didn’t she?

Media Training Tips and Cautionary Tales

In the high-risk, high-reward world of media training, major stumbles during television interviews are seared indefinitely in the public’s memory. Nailing an interview is not so easy, even for well-known public figures and corporate executives.

Media relies on basic principles and varied techniques. Today we’re focusing on seven tips–and what can happen when interviewees ignore them. As noted below, not everyone is as well-versed in handling the media as Joe Torre, (left) a former Major League Baseball manager.

Preparation is key since winging it is never a good idea. Interviewees need to wrap their heads around not only the core topics, but also the show, the interviewer and his or her questioning style. An example of what not to do? Herman Cain appeared completely clueless when asked about Libya during a video interview in Milwaukee last November, leaving several seconds of awkward, empty air time.

Keep answers brief, limited to quick sound bites. While Vice President Joe Biden is well known for his rambling remarks, the communicator in chief may need to heed this tip as well: During NYU’s Hospitality Investment Conference in June, NBC’s Chuck Todd predicted that President Obama may not win the first debate this fall, because [almost] no one has cut his remarks short during his term in office–and debates have strict time limits.

Beware softball questions. “What newspapers and magazines do you read?” is not a technically difficult question. Still, it was enough to trip up Sarah Palin during her now-infamous interview with Katie Couric during the 2008 Presidential election that was later parodied on SNL.

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Media Training Techniques and Trends

Media training is a high stakes field with visible results: Flawless public appearances are impressive while faulty performances can be devastating. We recently checked in via email with three media training specialists at PR agencies for their perspectives on the latest techniques, challenges and trends. Here’s the lowdown.

Training strategy is “about media mastery,” according to Leslie Linton, SVP media strategies at MWW in New York. “It’s about taking control of an interview, reacting quickly and effectively in a breaking news or crisis situation.”

Traditional and unconventional methods are used. “Clients increasingly recognize the importance of video training,” reported Ryan Richert, SVP media services at Edelman in Chicago. “You never know when a veteran print journalist will pull out an iPhone to record video of an interview. The New York Timesnew CEO comes from the BBC and embraces video storytelling.” Richert foresees journalists across major outlets using more video.

Linton strongly agreed with Richert on the value of video. She also utilizes “positive and negative sound bite examples and concentrates on bridging techniques to help clients out of troubling questions.”

“Our training program uses unexpected techniques,” said Stephen Brown, managing director at Cohn & Wolfe in Atlanta. “These range from ‘surprise calls’ from real or mock reporters during a session to surrounding interviews with props or lifelike set pieces.” He described another technique where a trainer writes a wire story in real-time during practice interviews, then shares the story so clients understand their statements’ immediate impact.

Media training adapts to rapid news cycles and social media networks. “Sound bites are shorter, simpler, and crisper,” Richert explained. “Watch the evening network news and you don’t see any more 15 second sound bites; most are about half that length. In the age of 140-character comments, executives can’t afford to be wordy, so I focus on helping our clients tighten up their talking points and cut to the chase.”

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Fashion and Mayhem: The Met Has a Press Event for this Year’s Costume Institute Exhibit

The red carpets are rolling out and things are getting fashion-y because today is the big Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum. We had the chance to check out the press event this morning for the Institute’s exhibition “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations,” and it was packed end to end with cameras, curators, and women in pretty necklaces.

“The steps of the Met, which is where guests walk the paparazzi gauntlet, provide one of the most dramatic and demanding red carpet entrances of any event,” writes The Washington Post. Indeed, the day after the “Met Ball,” reviewing what everyone wore has become an annual happening, like the day-after Oscar discussions. This is what model Coco Rocha will be wearing and we’ll review it in advance: Ghastly.

Amazon, a big sponsor of this year’s exhibition, will be broadcasting the red carpet live tonight online. More about that here.

This morning’s event wasn’t about the gala, but rather the exhibit itself.

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