Party Schools and Media Training

by Joey deVilla on May 14, 2009

Forget whether or not you think Arizona State University’s decision not to give President Obama an honourary degree because he hasn’t achieved enough yet was a mistake. The real lesson to learn from the whole affair is that you should never do an interview with a journalist, even a “fake news show” journo, unless:

  1. You’ve given a lot of thought to the one message you want to get across
  2. You are sober
  3. You have an IQ of at least 100

It would appear from this Daily Show clip that very few people from Arizona State (they call it “the Harvard of Date Rape”, which is probably a reference to this recent case) would be able to meet conditions 2 and 3:

The video above isn’t available to Canadian readers, but here’s the same video, as hosted on Canada’s Comedy network.

(In case you were wondering, no, Alexander Hamilton was not a President.)

Even people with three-digit IQs from real universities, such as my alma mater Crazy Go Nuts University, have fallen prey to this trap. I remember a student couple who complained about being featured in a “Sex on Campus” article in Macleans magazine even though they were interviewed about sex on campus (the young woman even boasted of her “European attitude towards sex”, which probably made her quite popular at the pub) and consented to being photographed together in a bed.

Young coed in skimpy halter top: "Party pics of Playboy's Top 10 Party Schools 2009"

Getting back to Arizona State: although it looks like a great party school, it still failed to earn a place in Playboy’s 2009 Top Party Schools list, as featured in COED magazine.

michael_oconnor_clarke

As for dealing with the media, I would recommend that at the very least, you should read a book like Media Training 101. If you have a little more money and you’re in the Accordion City area, I would also suggest taking some training from someone like my friend Michael O’Connor Clarke, who’s forgotten more about dealing with the media than most people have learned.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Michael O'Connor Clarke May 28, 2009 at 2:45 pm

I’m really behind on my ego-surfing, Joey, and only just caught this one now. Thank you very much indeed for the plug, that was exceptionally kind of you. And wow that’s an old photo.

In case anyone’s interested, there’s a (really old) post on my blog that gives a few tips about prepping for and handling yourself in media interviews. I’ve tweaked and tuned this set of key tips over the years, but the core principles are still sound, IMHO.

Of course, I’ve also updated the training in the last couple of years to include advice on dealing with non-traditional media (handling yourself in ye olde blogosphere and such like). Social Media Training has many overlaps with the old skool stuff, but there are a lot of tricky new wrinkles too. I wish some of the people who pitch me looking for links from my blog would take some of this training, but then I guess they’d be less entertainingly clueless if they did.

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