MU Director Schools Journos in Advanced Interview Skills, Pressers

Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil coached Arab News journalists in the intricacies of interviews and news conferences with an emphasis on good preparation, types of questions to ask, handling difficult interviewees and sources’ credibility.

 

Journalists learn advanced interview skills and coverage of news conferences

The virtual workshop in July 2021 began with an impromptu mock interview scenario requiring the trainees to prepare questions for the trainer, take notes, write a news item based on the interview, prepare hashtags for social media, shoot pictures and write captions. The assignment was edited in a later session.

 

Editing interview news item

Abu-Fadil focused on research, provided multiple case studies of good and bad interviews, logistical matters in preparation for interviews and press conferences, how to select interviewees, media ethics and legalities, and the uses of quotations.

 

Video of late talk show host Larry King explaining success of good interviews is listening

Other elements included accurate attribution, ground rules, anonymous sources, virtual vs in-person interviews and press conferences as well as steps to follow before, during and after such conferences.

Abu-Fadil Trains Yemeni NGO Staffers in Strategic Comms

Media Unlimited director Magda Abu-Fadil conducted a mini-course on strategic communications and media crisis management for Yemeni members of NGOs aimed at promoting their respective peace-related messages and mitigating crises.

The intensive three-day virtual workshop in July 2020 required participants to first think like journalists, operate like “mobile journalists” (mojos), and meet pressing news deadlines to appreciate what media needs are.

Elements of a news story

They also learned about the elements of news stories, how not to fall for misinformation, disinformation and malinformation, and, the art of writing news releases for various platforms.

One session was dedicated to organizing news conferences, briefings and events, with all the logistical, technical and editorial details involved in putting them together.

 

Trainees cautioned about disinformation

A key element in dealing with the media is the interview, and Abu-Fadil demonstrated the skills needed to handle questions under pressure, ground rules for attribution, what to wear, how to sit and act in front of a camera, tone of voice, body language, and the need for excellent preparation before any encounter.

 

Interview ground rules

The drills included media ethics, setting up a media office and what the role of a spokesperson is.

Another major element of the training was establishing a strong visual identity and using social media effectively to engage with one’s various audiences across traditional and other platforms.

 

Using fact sheets

The most critical part of the workshop was devoted to handling negative news and crisis communications by being transparent, not disseminating unreliable information, maintaining one’s credibility and multitasking under extreme pressure.

The training ended with tips on how to build a strategic media plan.

The workshop grouped participants representing a number of organizations across Yemen.

It was organized by the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies under the umbrella of the Yemen Peace Forum and was sponsored by the Netherlands government.