Executive Rewind: When the Media Report Your Story

So, you submit to a news interview, get in most of your important messages, and you’re anxious to see the reporter’s resulting story.

Time for perspective and a dose of realism. Let’s go to the videotape.

In a recent post, we took you through three business network interviews of GM CEO Mary Barra on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

You may recall she was there to trumpet anticipated improvement in GM’s final earnings per share and cash flow report for 2018, and very optimistic expectations this year in both categories.

We examined the consistency of her messages in those interviews on Barra’s three primary issues: financial guidance projections, the China market, and Electric Vehicles.

We found she did a good job getting in key message points. Barra made positive use of the two primary things under her control: her words and her demeanor. But, reporters control how they take what is said and shape it into a story.

The business networks have reporters with background and expertise in assigned beats. GM certainly represents a major business category. Phil LeBeau is CNBC’s Auto Industry Reporter.

After interviewing Barra, he went back to the main studio, took a seat on-set and reported:

That’s the set-up, or lead, establishing why Barra was at the NYSE.

Then, a CNBC anchor sitting next to him offered her own thoughts and some perspective, and LeBeau bridged on her thoughts.

LeBeau has lots of experience, background and knowledge about GM. Hence, his statements on the company’s EV history. And, then there’s this:

LeBeau’s report, while perhaps not exactly what Mary Barra wished to hear, was fair and accurate.

This example of how your story comes out when it passes through the media filter is especially true when you are interacting with reporters who know your industry and your company. Even those who don’t have the background and expertise do have the Internet to do some research.

But here’s a little secret: think of reporters with little or no background on you and your business as soft clay. Take the time to help shape their understanding from your perspective. At the same time you can help create a positive relationship that could likely benefit you in the future.

Always keep in mind that in today’s world of instant global communication,
“Anyone who talks about you…or your business…is media!”
The Media Trainers®, LLC

Request a FREE Consultation