Ed Miliband's media fail

Written by Total Politics has a free weekly Friday email bulletin. Follow this link to register. on 30 June 2011 in Diary
Ed Miliband's media advisers need to get to grips with interview technique in the digital age

I was in stitches by the time I got to the one-minute mark on this interview with Ed Miliband. Joking aside though, it’s clear that Miliband has a lot to learn about performing in the media in the age of the internet. I don’t blame Ed though, it’s the job of his advisers to ensure prepare him for media encounters. And they failed him in this interview. So here’s some advice.

In the age of the internet there’s no limit on space and time. If a media outlet wants to publish a complete unedited version of an interview they can do so with ease. And that’s a game changer.

In the interview, Ed is using a technique which would have worked a couple of years ago: give exactly the same answer to every question you’re asked in the knowledge that the media outlet will only use one of your answers for broadcast, thereby ensuring you get that all important coverage for your desired soundbite.

But that’s no longer how the game works. Now, a media outlet can use a single answer for television (or radio) broadcast, and then post the complete interview online. The net result, as Ed’s interview below demonstrates, is that the interviewee ends up looking like an automaton. Worse still, if the unedited interview published on the internet goes viral, it can easily become a story in its own right! And that could mean seeing your best robot impression airing on television. Hardly the result you were looking for.

So, Ed’s advisers, you need to think through the implications of media consumption in the digital age. Don’t panic though, it doesn’t mean the end of the soundbite! It just means you have to vary your delivery. So, using the example below, instead of having Ed answer every question with exactly the same answer (switching words around doesn’t make it a different answer!), you should try answering each question and weaving your soundbite into the answer.

Here endeth the lesson.

[Hat tip: Mark Ferguson @ LabourList]

Tags: Ed Miliband, Labour, Media technique

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