Retaining someone to provide a service about which you know little yourself can always be tricky, whether it be an auto mechanic, lawyer, plumber, computer tech or—the topic du jour—a media trainer.
Below is a list of questions to ask any potential media trainer. The answers should provide you with insights critical to making an informed decision about using his or her services.
1. Have you been a working journalist yourself?
Good answer: Yes! It’s much harder to understand the workings of the media if you haven’t spent any time on the “inside,” at least at the collegiate and/or intern level.
2. If yes to #1, what type of journalist were you (e.g., anchor, investigative reporter)?
Good answer: Investigative or feature journalists are much more used to “digging” for a story and hence ask more of the tough questions for which you need to prepare. Anchors simply read the news.
3. If no to #1, what is the basis for your understanding of the media?
Good answer: I made a point of spending part of my PR career actively networking with working journalists.
4. Does your training include how to deal with non-traditional media, e.g., social media?
Good answer: Yes!