Volume 4 | March/April 2019
Welcome to GroundFloor Media’s Crisis Communicator, a regular eNewsletter from GFM’s Crisis Communication & Reputation Management practice. In this issue, we discuss:
  • Why media training can be the difference between winners and losers in crises
  • What “60 Minutes” can teach us about being interviewed on camera
  • What we are reading
  • Save the Date: Annual Denver Download event
 
For nearly two decades, leading companies and organizations in Colorado and across the country have relied on members of GFM’s crisis communication and reputation management practice to help prepare for, manage and recover from crises. This practice is led by  Jeremy Story and  Gil Rudawsky , two journalism and public relations veterans who over the courses of their careers have worked with some of the country’s most recognizable companies and is supported by our 24/7 Rapid Response Team.
 
If you would like to learn more about how me dia training or our proprietary Online War Room crisis simulator can help prepare you for a crisis, please visit  our website or contact us at   crisis@groundfloormedia.com .
Media Training Separates Crisis Winners from Losers
 
All great athletes will tell you that it is the behind-the-scenes preparation that allows them to perform at the highest level on game day. Superstar athletes spend countless hours to make their “wow” moments look almost effortless.
 
Business executives should take that same approach when it comes to dealing with the media, especially in a crisis. When you're conducting a media interview, there is no do-over, which means you have to be prepared for the moment when it arrives.
 
Media training can be the difference between success and failure in protecting your brand from a crisis situation. That is why GFM offers a comprehensive approach to media training that focuses on both content and delivery.
 
Our team includes a mix of professionals who have spent most of their careers counseling C-level executives in boardrooms and working behind the scenes in newsrooms. That combination helps us prepare clients for the tough questions they can expect, while also respecting the needs of the organization and its board of directors.
 
We develop custom messaging that responds to the issues at hand clearly and directly, but is also authentic to the voice of the person delivering it. We also create real-world training scenarios so spokespeople can get comfortable with delivering tough messages. 
 
Expecting TV crews to film your statement? We can work with our creative services team to film you making statements and answering questions, and then review that frame-by-frame to see what worked and what needs more practice. Going to be interviewed by a print reporter? We can have one of our former journalists interview you and then write the resulting story so you can see firsthand how your messaging would have been portrayed – what messages landed and what opportunities were missed.
 
It is that commitment to preparation and practice that will make you a game-day hero. 
What “60 Minutes” Teaches us About Media Interviews
By  Barb Jones
 
The venerable television news program 60 Minutes shared some of the tricks of the trade from many of its most revered journalists. It offed a blueprint into how to pitch and prepare for a media interview.
 
When the show first aired in 1967, the formula for a “60 Minutes” segment was simple: keep it timely, keep it relevant and never be dull. That same formula is as relevant today and should be used by communications professionals in developing stories and pitches for the media. It doesn’t matter if your story idea is for print, TV, radio or online – your media pitch needs to include all of those elements, and it needs to be visual.
 
In the segment, producers shared their rules for conducting a “60 Minutes” interview, and these are recommendations for how to prepare for them:
  • Do your homework – The reporter will do his or her homework before interviewing you, so your job is to get as much information from the reporter in advance of the interview to make sure your client is prepared.
  • Don’t be shy, don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions and be persistent– The reporter is going to ask the tough questions, so you need to anticipate what will be asked and practice how to respond concisely and then pivot to the key message you want to make.
  • Take your time, wear them down – This is a tried-and-true approach. Good reporters have a way of getting people to talk, even if it’s just waiting it out. The reporter will ask the question, the interviewee will answer, then the reporter will just sit there saying nothing. Most people are uncomfortable with the silence, so they will continue talking, which can be a disaster when they say something off message. Learn to be comfortable with the silence.
 
“60 Minutes” correspondent Ed Bradley once explained: “My job is to put someone in a chair and get them to talk and tell their story as if there are no cameras, no lights, no other staff around – just the two of us sitting and talking.” 
 
As PR practitioners, we’re sometimes wary of TV interviews for our clients, especially on controversial topics. In many cases, we advise clients not to do on-camera interviews, but to issue a written statement instead.
 
Whether you’re getting a client ready for a “60 Minutes”-style interview or a local TV story, there’s no such thing as too much preparation. If you’re not a “60 Minutes” watcher, we encourage you to take a look. As communicators, there’s much to learn from these esteemed journalists who don’t pull any punches.
What We're Reading
By  CenterTable and  GroundFloor Media Team Members and News Outlets
 
By Carissa McCabe & Olivia Ward
When Brené Brown is the keynote conference speaker, people line up. During her SXSW kick-off session, we were lucky enough to sit in the sixth row – close enough to not only see her but also absorb her wisdom. We learned why reframing, or changing your perspective of difficult people, is so important and why curiosity is the key to solutions. 
 
By Columbia Journalism Review
Five top PR executives from five industries tell  Columbia Journalism Review in their own words what they really think of journalists. Some of the views are provocative – “Some journalists are lazy” and engage in “bait-and-switch” tactics – while others are more mundane – “Journalists are a means to an end; my job is not to communicate with journalists, it’s to communicate  through them.” But all offer a glimpse into how effective PR is conducted.
 
By Gil Rudawsky
Former  Rocky Mountain News editor and current GroundFloor Media Vice President Gil Rudawsky reflects on the impact of the newspaper’s closing on his professional life, and how the layoffs foreshadowed the draconian cuts that would follow at other newspapers across the country.

By Edison Research
If you think you’ve been hearing more about podcasts lately you’re not wrong. The Infinite Dial 2019 is an annual report on consumer usage of media and technology. The report’s headline finding is that this year, the total number of people who have listened to a podcast passed 50% for the first time. So, if you’ve been wondering whether it’s time for your brand to jump on the podcast bandwagon, you now have the proof to do it.
Save The Date: Annual Denver Download Event
 
Each year, we deploy our digital marketing and public relations pros to some of the country’s most interesting and notable conferences, and then share what we learned with our clients and friends. We hope you'll save the date for this year’s  Denver Download on April 18 at the GFM/CenterTable office. We’ll be unpacking key insights and learnings from  SXSW Social Media Marketing World and the  NAB Show . If you are interested in attending, please RSVP to  denverdownload@groundfloormedia.com
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