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Prince Andrew’s Story – A Journalists point of view.
February 16, 2022

Prince Andrew’s out of court settlement has grabbed the headlines this morning. Journalists worldwide, but especially in Britain, will be not just reporting on what has happened but will be asking about what this means for the Prince. They will want to know what it tells us about how women who have been abused are treated, and most of all, what the ongoing ramifications are for Andrew and the Royal Family as a whole, with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations getting underway.

What, therefore, will the media want to hear from commentators about Prince Andrews settlement with Virginia Giuffre? Already, Mark Stephens has appeared on BBC breakfast to give his view. As the leading Media Training company for law firms, working with several magic and silver circle firms, we regularly provide Media Training for partners and other lawyers to comment on current issues. So, what will journalists want to hear from lawyers about Prince Andrew? Well, they’ll want them to put the situation in context. Lawyers should be prepared to answer how typical this kind of case is. Journalists will also ask how these arrangements work in practice.

Introducing our Media Training courses

In our Media Training courses, we say that if you’re asked to do a media interview, it will usually be for one of three reasons – you’re promoting something (a product or a service), you’re defending something (you’ve made a mistake or had to make a difficult decision) or you’re commenting on something. A lot of the people that we train fall into the latter category.

What point of view do Journalists take?

We journalists (all our trainers are working in the media but provide training under strict non-disclosure agreements) don’t want to hear too much detail from lawyers, but certainly, we want to get a sense of what goes on here and lawyers who can give insights and provide stories and anecdotes will gain positive media coverage. How do you provide a case study without compromising client confidentiality? Well, that’s something we look at a lot in our media training courses for law firms, architecture practices, financial services firms, and retailers, among others.

This tragic tale has a strong human element, of course. Therefore, journalists will be looking to speak to victims’ groups or organisations and those who have survived sexual abuse or people trafficking. We work with several charities and other organisations that campaign for and support a wide variety of victims and survivors.

As we explain in our Media Training sessions for these groups, journalists want the organisation to provide context, including any survey and research findings. But they’ll also want to speak to a victim or survivor themselves. Case studies are essential for most media stories and finding somebody who has the confidence and passion for speaking out in an articulate but very human way about their own experience will often decide whether the story runs or not. Therefore, you can imagine what pressure journalists and producers are under to find someone who has this ability – and how grateful they are to an organisation that can provide someone.

Who else would Journalists want to hear from?

We work with charities and support groups to help their case studies. We also work with those who have lived experience of an issue to develop the confidence to talk to the media and understand how they can exert some control during an interview which is naturally often traumatic and risky. In the case of Prince Andrew, we journalists will be looking for those who have survived trafficking and sexual abuse and academics, campaigners, and leaders of relevant charities.

The role-play media interviews with feedback and coaching that we provide work well here to help a victim or survivor draw attention to an issue that they naturally feel very strongly about.

In this case, the media will also want to hear from royal experts, communications professionals, friends of those involved and anybody who producers and reporters feel could provide insight and contribute to the debate. If you’re going to comment on the subject, as we explain in our Media Training sessions, you must have a clear point of view that is distinctive and easily understood by the audience.

What could a Media Training course teach me?

As well as Media Training for law firms, we work with accountants and financial services firms. It might be a rise in interest rates or gyrations on the financial markets, but finance experts always have opportunities to provide insights and comments. One thing that you’ll need to be prepared for, whatever you’re discussing, is to throw forward and make predictions. Journalists love to hear about what’s happening now, but we’re even more interested in what will happen in the next few months or years.

Whatever you’re commenting on, you must provide case studies and examples from your own experience to back up your points and prove that you’re working at the cutting edge of whatever industry you operate in and have practical experience of what happens day in, day out. You’ll probably be asked questions such as: “What are you saying to clients?” or “What are people in these situations asking you?”

Even if you’re not asked these questions, proactively introducing this information into a media interview is a good idea.

One of the challenges for a commentator is to avoid saying something that might be too controversial and might damage client relationships or your own reputation. Getting this balance right is tricky, but with proper planning and effective, practical Media Training, you can help journalists as well as help yourself by providing comments and analysis on a newsworthy event.

How can I organise my Media Training course?

To organise your Media Training course with Communicate today, contact us on + 44 (0)7958 239892 or email gareth@communicatemedia.com. Our courses help your firm to ensure you are prepared for any eventuality during your media interview.

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