Media Training Tips from Senior Public Relations Counselor Jim Cameron


This interview is embarrassing because he turned the tables and disarmed me. 

Jim Cameron is a master media trainer, and in this exclusive interview, he talks about how to stay on message and control an interview, which he does.

Jim Cameron of Cameron Communications, Inc. is a public relations agency leader and transit advocate with over 30 years in broadcast journalism. 

While at NBC News, he received a George Foster Peabody Award. Along with Inc. Magazine, he also wrote and hosted the syndicated radio series Minding Your Business

For 12 years, Jim ran JFORUM, the pioneering online service for journalists and communications professionals worldwide, on CompuServe.  His media-training clients include hundreds of CEOs, scientists, and authors.

Jim’s clients have appeared on 60 Minutes, 20/20, The Today Show, CNN, CNBC and hundreds of radio stations.

They’ve been quoted in the pages of The Wall Street Journal, trade journals, and lifestyle magazines. 

His clients have testified before Congress, presented to financial analysts, and given speeches at major symposia.

So if you want to get media training right now, listen to this interview.


6:01 – Jim Cameron explains what media training is.

7:58 – Cameron talks about the importance of developing a message for an interview and how to stay on message.

10:23 – Cameron on common misconceptions about media training: “Media training is not spin control, it’s not teaching you how to lie…what it is about is being honest, being accurate, [and] being relevant to the audience…”

11:19 – Cameron talks about his own key messages: “Media training is an effective staff development tool…whether they’re [the employees] talking to the media or doing speeches or going to conferences, there needs to be a consistency of the messages that you’re relaying about your product and your company.”

13:47 – Cameron on how to control the messages of employees of multi-national organizations.

14:50 – Cameron talks about informing employees of the messages they need to relay. 

15:42 – Cameron discusses how he prepares his clients for interviews and speaking engagements, and how to be an effective communicator: “Part of what makes PR lose credibility is that we are all ‘yes’ men…that’s not effective communication.”

19:35 – Cameron talks about the most common tricks used by reporters to get their interviewees to say what they want them to say.

21:23 – Cameron discusses the differences between interviewing with a print journalist versus a broadcast journalist: “…I think it’s more challenging to control a print interview situation than it is a broadcast.”

24:32 – Cameron explains what sound bites are and why they are important.

25:44 – Cameron tells why people are forced to talk in sound bites: “…our attention span has been winnowed down so that we just don’t have the patience to listen to a thoughtful answer for more than 30 or 40 seconds.”

27:11 – Cameron talks about how to avoid saying things you don’t want to say in an interview.

29:10 – Cameron discusses how to stay on message in an interview without seeming as if you have something to hide: “…I think you need to be responsive to the question, deliver your message, and then move on.”

30:47 – Cameron talks about the most important things to keep in mind before an interview.

32:00 – Cameron on the ground rules that need to be set before an interview starts.

34:03 – Cameron talks about the preparation needed for interviews on shows like “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert.

35:40 – Cameron gives examples of questions reporters ask that interviewees should not answer.

38:25 – End.

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

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