Why The Chilean Miners Received Media Training

Why The Chilean Miners Received Media Training
By Thomas Murrell MBA, CSP International Business Speaker

It has been one of the world's biggest stories.

It created a media frenzy and was watched by billions.

Before being rescued, the trapped miners in Chile were given media training.


They were taught interview techniques to help them cope with the inevitable media onslaught that came with their rescue.

Because of the news values of the story, the 33 workers became instant celebrities after surviving seven weeks in a collapsed mine.

This intensified when they were finally freed.

To help prepare them for the glare of the world's media, experts piped down instructional videos on how to handle TV and newspaper reporters.

They were instructed on "remaining poised during an interview, asking the interviewer to repeat the question if they don't understand it, and how to say that they prefer not to answer" a given question, according to Alberto Iturra, a psychologist involved in the miners' mental and emotional well-being.

So what made this the news story of the year and why was media training so important prior to the event?

Miners are good at being miners. They're not good at handling the world's media attention. Media training was essential.

They had time to learn and they had the technology to learn.

The story had seven critical news values that made media training essential.

1. Timeliness and Currency
There was a deadline to rescue. After rescue there would be mayhem with the media.

Working to this timely deadline was critical.

Do you have a deadline to a media critical event you are working towards? A new product launch, an investor announcement or any newsworthy event?

2. Consequence
The bigger the consequence, the bigger the news story. When people's lives are at stake, the consequences are always high.

3. Drama
The more dramatic the story, the more newsworthy.

This story was big on drama.

4. Proximity
This story resonated with everyone. Perhaps because it is every one's worst fear to be trapped miles underground not knowing whether you are going to live or die.

5. Prominence

Before the story the miners were nobodies. Today they are celebrities.

In fact, the first and last miner out are the most famous because people remember the first and last.

The involvement of Chile's most prominent citizen, President Sebastian Pinera, who stayed throughout the rescue operation and welcomed each miner personally to the surface added gravitas and drama.

6. Conflict and Danger
The story had it all. A possible tragedy with a fairytale ending.

7. Sex
Sex and scandal always create news.

When the story broke that the 21st miner to be rescued, had both a wife and a mistress the media went crazy over who would greet him at the surface. Many of them even got it wrong.

Need to refine your message for the media?

Please consider: Tuesday November 23rd 2010, Subiaco Arts Centre, Perth, Australia
Winning the Media Game

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