Critical Mass – Perspectives in media and crisis management » 24/7 news cycle Thu, 09 Aug 2012 07:07:59 +0000 en hourly 1 The banana peel effect Fri, 27 Apr 2012 05:58:13 +0000 Brian Shrowder One of Australia’s more successful political figures, former Queensland state premier Peter Beattie, was quoted recently talking about the pressures posed by the 24/7 news cycle on people in public life.

“They are constantly on beck and call, and frankly I don’t care how smart anyone is, one day you will make a mistake,” he said. And when that happens, the mistake is publicly repeated again and again. 

“Boo-hoo”, you might think. If you’re a politician, media scrutiny comes with the territory.

But hold on a moment.  If media interviews are that difficult for a seasoned professional how hard must it be for those other spokespeople – the CEOs, GMs and corporate affairs managers – who face the media infrequently, perhaps only when there is a difficult issue that’s stirred public interest?

It’s the banana peel effect. A trip or slip-up made in an unguarded moment will always be more newsworthy than the media release already in a journalist’s hands.  

Sometimes it’s the thrill of the ‘gotcha’, as happens when world leaders are (all too often) caught chatting near a ‘hot’ mike at a G7 summit.

While there’s no magic bullet for handling the media’s banana peel, there are ways to help avoid a misstep. Honesty and authenticity are a given, but there’s more to it than that.

For all the new rules of social media, there are some old rules that still apply: having a well-prepared message and a disciplined focus, and giving proper attention to your audiences’ real concerns are as important now in the age of digital communications as they have ever been.

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