The Press

Although it can’t compete with TV, radio and online for immediacy and impact, the UK press still wields enormous power and influence, bolstered by a new generation of fast-moving online news sites that are now available on any number of platforms, from your smartphone to your tablet. The days when newspapers ‘went to bed’ at 9pm are over: all the national and regional papers have websites that are updated every 2-3 minutes, around the clock – and they’re much more widely read than newsprint. The Guardian, for example, sells about 300,000 copies per day. The paper’s website – – has nearly three million visitors every day.

In the UK, newspapers have more scope than broadcasters to be rude, offensive, disrespectful and controversial. They have columnists who are troublemakers, iconoclasts and gossip-mongers. They don’t care who they upset. Unlike broadcasters, they’re able to take careless quotes ‘out of context’ and build their headlines and stories around them. This is why there can be more pot-holes to negotiate during a press interview than on TV or radio, because newspaper reporters have total control over how they ‘angle’ the story, which quotes they use and which they ignore. The broadcasting studio might be a daunting place, but at least you’re never in danger of having words put into your mouth.

How We Help

With a series of practical interviews simulating realistic scenarios tailored to suit each client’s speciality, the course demonstrates how to leave as little as possible to chance when you face the press: how to deal with hostile reporters and turn difficult questions to your advantage; how to organise your messages into memorable quotes and give yourself a fighting chance of seeing them in print precisely as you uttered them; and how to negotiate the many traps press reporters employ, exploding such media myths as ‘speaking off the record’ (there’s no such thing!)

The course also covers press conferences – how to arrange them effectively – and the crucial distinction between the general press (anything from The Times to the local weekly) and the trade press, specialising in the client’s particular field. Trade publications have considerably smaller circulations than national papers, but they’re avidly read by your peers and competitors, and their reporters invariably have a keener understanding of your ‘story’.

As in the broadcasting course, each interview is analysed and assessed afterwards, with observations welcomed from each member of the group.

At the end of the session, participants are provided with detailed tip-sheets, reminding them of the dos and don’ts of engaging with the press: a useful aid to refresh the memory immediately ahead of an important interview on which your organisation’s fortunes might depend.