‘Media’ Archive

You can teach an old(er) cat new tricks

Is there anyone who likes speaking in front of an audience or on camera? I actually do, but despite kudos I’ve received for it I’ve often feared I must sound just like that teacher in the Charlie Brown TV specials. We all think that way. It’s human nature.

But, really, I’ve had no reason to feel ill at ease. I’ve been a professional communicator my entire career. I also spent 20 years performing onstage and directing theatre, which requires an understanding of how to put your best foot forward and, in the case of directing, teaching the skill to others.

At Netroots Nation 2013, a conference largely devoted to using technology to amplify voices and influence public debate, I attended a training session on how to be a “media star.” It was led by Joel Silberman, who brings years of theatrical experience to his work as a media strategist and trainer for organizations, online activists and candidates.

You can teach an old(er) cat new tricksEven if he hadn’t uttered a word about how to be authentic and put forth a presence while in the eye of the media, his own skills would have illustrated it perfectly. The advice and guidance he shared was invaluable, whether I’ll be on camera or coaching someone who will be. And I had the exhilarating, enlightening experience of being selected to receive one-on-one coaching in a mock on-camera interview.

I’ve never felt more self-assured and articulate on camera. I feel like I’m ready for anything now. Including my close-up.

New perspectives on news media

Whenever I travel, it gives me a fresh perspective not only on the place I’m visiting, but on my life and the world at large.

My recent trip to Washington, DC, was particularly eye-opening, and I found myself drawn to sites that centered on news and the media.

I have a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications, so I am already well-informed on the media’s influence. But at the excellent Newseum, I was struck by the fact that although the mediums through which we receive news have changed dramatically, the impact of the news media has been an acknowledged force in decision-making – for better or worse – since before our country was founded.

This was reinforced by a new exhibit at the National Gallery of Art that focused largely on Andy Warhol’s art based on newspaper and tabloid headlines. The many ways he re-imagined these printed pieces, which were an obsession for him, underscored how each of us interprets what we read.

No question, the media has the power to influence what we think. But, as my parents taught me, “Don’t believe everything you read.” Check your sources. Be a little skeptical and dig deeper. And then decide what’s true.

More than ever, I’ll revere the journalists who are committed to solid, factual reporting. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “Let the people know the facts, and the country will be safe.”

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