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Let’s face it, the news has become a bit of a goldmine lately for interview disasters and examples of ‘how not to do it’.
Some of these instances have been highlighted in this media training blog.
Others, however, are not significant enough to write extensively about or simply offer more in the way of humour than any real learning opportunities.
But as it is Friday we thought we would compile some of our favourite recent examples to give us all an end of week treat.
Media interviews can be challenging enough without launching criticism of the language you have just used.
But that is exactly what Conservative politician Steve Baker managed to do in a somewhat bewildering recent interview with ITV.
Mr Baker began by arguing that it would be a “really catastrophic negotiating error to take no deal off the table.”
But, just a few moments later, he added: “Catastrophe is a word that should be reserved for genuine loss of life. No politician should use it.”
Is it just me who is feeling a little confused?
My interview with Steve Baker: "It would be a really catastrophic negotiating error to take no deal off the table"— Daniel Hewitt (@DanielHewittITV) March 13, 2019
Also Steve Baker (in the same interview): "Catastrophe is a word that should be reserved for genuine loss of life. No politician should use it." pic.twitter.com/sa3TqcGRyD
We’ve written in this media training blog before about what spokespeople should wear when they are being interviewed on television.
Sadly it seems that rapper Drillminster didn’t follow that advice ahead of his appearance on Newsnight to discuss knife crime.
Not only did he take the decision to wear a balaclava, but he also appeared to completely forget he was wearing the garment when he attempted to quench his thirst.
The result was a rather embarrassing spill. Eagle-eyed viewers spotted the gaffe and naturally shared their observations on social media. One post from Lincoln Jopp has been shared more than 17,000 times and received more than 52,000 likes.
It is not just spokespeople who make errors in front of the camera.
A US war correspondent was recently caught making some last-minute grooming adjustments to his hair – using his own spit.
Matt Bradley was preparing to report live from Syria when he was seemingly caught unaware that his colleague had already crossed over live to him.
Viewers saw him spit into his hand twice to slick back his hair ahead of his report.
THIS JUST HAPPENED LIVE!!! pic.twitter.com/vEYfjtTo7S— Valerie Breiman (@ValerieBreiman) March 22, 2019
Sometimes the embarrassment in an interview simply comes in the way the journalist introduces you.
Conservative MP Ben Bradley was recently on the receiving end of a savage introduction from Channel 4 presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy after being asked to discuss the latest Brexit developments.
The newsreader said: “The Conservative MP Ben Bradley is in the House of Commons. He voted to remain, then became a Brexiteer, then voted against the deal, then voted for the deal, then said he would struggle to back the deal again, but now says he will back the deal. Ben Bradley, why do you get to change your mind?”
Bradley made some interesting facial expressions as the introduction went along before responding with “I haven’t changed my mind.”
Meet Conservative MP Ben Bradley: He voted Remain then became a Brexiteer then voted against the deal then voted for the deal then said he’d struggle to back the deal again then said he would back the deal. But you should not get another vote. https://t.co/MH3EjNwfXj— Krishnan Guru-Murthy (@krishgm) March 26, 2019
We’ve highlighted in this media training blog before how enthusiasm can be a great trait in a media interview and play a crucial role in helping to bring messages to life and keep audiences engaged.
Occasionally some spokespeople, however, can get away with taking a more indifferent approach, like that adopted by Robert Smith frontman of The Cure.
His deadpan response to a very excitable interviewer after his band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame saw him become the talk of the internet.
Asked by Carrie Keagan if he was ‘excited as I am’, Smith replied bluntly ‘By the sounds of it, no’.
this is the funniest start to an interview i have ever seen i love robert smith man pic.twitter.com/7H4okzPX0L— al (@_hidingwithboys) March 30, 2019
It wasn’t strictly an interview, but we couldn’t leave out the clip of American President Donald Trump referring to Apple CEO Tim Cook as Tim Apple in front of the TV cameras.
The White House later tried to play this down in its official transcript, adding a dash so that it read ‘Tim – Apple’. But if you watch the clip you’ll know that wasn’t the case.
Still, the Apple boss took it in good heart, changing his Twitter name to Tim and the Apple logo.
We look forward to the reports of future meetings between Mr Trump and Bill Windows, Mark Facebook, Jeff Amazon and Elon Tesla.
Media First are media and communications training specialists with over 30 years of experience. We have a team of trainers, each with decades of experience working as journalists, presenters, communications coaches and media trainers.
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