media trainer & consultant
I am available as a media and journalism trainer, both in France and abroad and for short-term or regular sessions.
I worked for many years as a journalism tutor in English at one of France's top journalism schools, the CFJ (Centre de Formation des Journalistes) in Paris, covering both radio and television skills. I currently teach classes in English for the new CFJ school Ecole W.
I am also currently a part-time lecturer at the University of Lyon (Lumière Lyon 2), giving classes to students doing a master's degree in journalism and others studying infographics.
I have also been called upon regularly to provide presentation and production training for colleagues and other journalists wanting to expand into new areas.
I am also currently giving online digital training to news publishers in the UK and France, offering insights for those wanting to ensure they are well-equipped for the transformation from traditional to online publishing.
It is extremely rewarding to get the chance to pass on some of the skills I have built up as a presenter, producer and journalist over more than 30 years.
The topics I cover in journalism training include:
- How to identify a story & plan how to cover it
- The basics of making enquiries & initial contact
- Interviewing techniques & tips when in the field
- Different writing styles (the written press, TV & radio)
- The essentials of good, memorable storytelling
- Best practices for achieving accuracy & balance
- The best way to edit packages for radio & TV
- How to write & structure reports for the written press
- The legal and ethical pitfalls to watch out for
- The importance of innovation and creativity
- Maintaining focus & purpose when reporting
- Tips on live reporting for television and radio
I also offer workshops for French journalists who want to learn how to be more at ease when working on the ground in English, whether alongside English-speaking colleagues or when on assignments overseas.
Here is just one example of an outline for a three-day radio course developed for the CFJ school of journalism in Paris:
- Becoming familiar with key words and expressions. A handout and discussion/translation of the main words and expressions the journalists will need to know if working for a radio station in English.
- An overview of current styles/trends when writing for radio in English. Innovative techniques in radio; differences between France and other countries. Listening to examples of foreign radio news programmes.
- Exercises in using the telephone to gather information on stories in English. Simulations of real-life newsroom situations where a reporter must make contact/use the right tone of language to gather information/fix interviews/get permission for recording.
- Participating in a news conference in English: the formulation of questions, comprehension/taking notes, etc. Live simulations of breaking news events, news conferences and impromptu interviews with news makers.
- Performing a live cross/question-and-answer report into a news programme. Summarising key elements of a story in English, based on the information provided at a news conference. A live presentation of the results.
- Providing prepared/edited material for a radio programme. Exercises in quickly writing and recording a voice report. Writing a story and choosing a sound bite from a news conference. The exercise will include the presentation of the reports.
- A real-time exercise of creating a report from scratch in one news shift. The putting together of a short radio package in English; writing a script, carrying out interviews/vox pops for soundbites, gathering ambiance and editing. The reports will be presented as a radio programme in the afternoon, with time to analyse and give feedback.
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Media Content Monitoring: I am also available for consultancy work or training within media organisations, to identify how the presentation or making of broadcast content can be enhanced.
I have also been called upon to carry out random assessments of TV and radio programmes (often unannounced to staff and from a distance), with detailed reports provided to managers who want frank and honest critiques. The aim is to provide an unbiased assessment from somebody outside of the media company.
As well as providing journalism training, I have also been called on to provide mentoring for new journalists.
One example of this was a five-week placement in Dar es Salaam,Tanzania, at a partner radio station of Radio France International. I presented and produced an 'outside broadcast' of the daily RFI news programme, acting as a mentor for local journalists.
I have also given numerous talks and facilitated discussions with journalists in developing countries about essential journalism skills and practices. One recent example of this was talking to journalists in Kazakhstan, as part of a training programme offered by Euronews.
Bespoke training courses can also be provided. For example, I developed journalism training programmes at the CFJ school of journalism, offering courses for students specialised in both television and radio.
I am also working on a project to produce a manual of journalism terms and expressions in both French and English.
Media Relations Workshops
Improve the way you work with the media
Improve the way you communicate with the public
To put the media relations strategies of organisations to the test, I draw on my vast experience in the field and the regular contact I have had with groups that seek media coverage.
Fostering a relationship with journalists is crucial for those seeking to improve the way they communicate with the public, and getting the perspective of a media professional can help identify where changes are needed.
My most recent workshops have been for the UN World Tourism Organisation and World Bank in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar.
Workshop themes include:
- Generating interest from reporters
- The main types of contact
- Relations with the media during a crisis
- Preparing for visits from reporters
- Accompanying media teams on the ground
- What to do when things go wrong
- How to act in front of microphones and cameras
- The top "do's and don’ts".
I have devised numerous bespoke training programmes, including one called 'First Impressions'. This is designed for anyone wanting to improve their communication skills, including speaking in public (at a conference or meeting) or in the media.
I also provide a 'troubleshooting' assessment. I carry out an on-site inspection of the way a media relations team operates and then follow up with a detailed report and list of recommendations.
The aim is to give feedback from the point of view of a journalist, to test whether the existing strategies, approach and contact with the media are likely to be effective. There is also the possibility of subsequent training sessions based on the needs identified.
Training on how to perform in a radio or TV interview
A very popular part of the media relations training that I offer involves coaching on how to deal with being interviewed on radio and television. What are the dos and don'ts? How do we make sure we come across in the best way possible? What should we keep in mind when being interviewed by a journalist? How do we make sure it's a good experience for all involved?
As well as being an experienced radio and television journalist and producer, I am a proven public speaker, having moderated high-profile public debates and conferences, and I have a strong background in training.
The workshops are designed to be as relevant as possible to the specific needs of those taking part and the presentations are designed to be as dynamic and engaging as possible.
Powerpoint/Keynote presentations are used as a support tool, along with media equipment including cameras and audio recording devices.
Notes on the main points covered in the workshops can also be provided for distribution to participants.
Media Relations Workshops
- One to five-day workshops available
- Can be held in English or French
- Content tailored to meet your needs
- No limit on number of participants
- Practical exercises & case studies
- Use of your premises or hired venue
- Regular interaction encouraged
Please do not hesitate to get in touch to discuss your needs, whether you are an institution/agency, an NGO, an association or a charity.
There are different fees for different events and I would be happy to formulate a personalised proposal.
In France, I am able to use an official training certification number - 'numéro agrément formateur ' - and a registration with 'Datadock'.
A brochure containing details about the media relations workshops is available in PDF & JPEG format.
Hard copies can also be sent to you by traditional post.
Please send me a request via the Contact page.
Media Awareness Seminars
As well as holding media relations workshops, I offer seminars for those interested in raising awareness about how the media operates.
These meetings are for those who don't necessarily have to deal with journalists directly but who would benefit from understanding the complex and changing world of the media.
I have held awareness seminars for the likes of school and university groups and at various public forums, including for people seeking career advice. My most recent seminars, for example, have been for inmates in French prisons and I have given talks to civic service volunteers.
I am available to make a presentation on the subject to an audience, small or large, or facilitate a discussion in which participants can share their impressions and points of view about the media.
The focus can be on general issues surrounding the media or something more specific and all kinds of audiences are possible, from staff in an organisation to volunteers working for a charity.
I would be delighted to discuss whatever project or event you have in mind.
Public Speaking Coach
I am available as a public speaking and voice coach, having had many years as a radio and television presenter and as a moderator/speaker at global events.
My most recent work has been with technical college students wanting to improve how they come across in job interviews and I will start a new project soon with young sports ambassadors who will have to speak in front of an audience. My workshops are also focused on how to be confident when having to appear in front of others.
Other people I have helped include trainee journalists, new presenters, young business people, student lawyers, but also ordinary members of the public who are keen to find a new voice, change the way they communicate with other people.
My presentation skills, combined with the experience I have as a journalism teacher and media trainer, enable me to share valuable tips and tricks when it comes to speaking in front of the public. It is often less about what we say but how we say it, the attitude we have, our posture, our body language.
My advice and exercises, tested over many years, can be life-changing. I have also worked with people with language difficulties including stuttering and stammering, something I myself suffered from as a youngster but was able to overcome. I can share the same techniques that worked for me.
Dealing with shyness and the fear of getting up in front of people are also things I can help people with, whether it's a one-to-one session or in small groups. I can also help someone who is reasonably confident when speaking in public (work meetings, conferences, official gatherings, private events), but who just needs some extra advice on how to really stand out and be remembered.