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Media Training: Step by Step with Doc Joe Trahan

By Glynn Young, APR, Fellow PRSA
Communications Director, 
PRSA St. Louis 

We’ve been talking with Doc Joe Trahan, APR, Fellow, PRSA, and one of the country’s leading media trainers, about a number of topics related to media training and the professional development session he’ll be leading Aug. 16 for PRSA St. Louis. 

Last week, we talked with Joe about how he became involved with media training, how it’s changed (and stayed the same) over the years, and how the media themselves have been changing. Today, Joe talks about the basic of training, how organizations have to prepare for stepping into social or political issues, and some of the other communications disciplines he’s involved in. 

Joe, what do you tell your clients when you train them to talk with the news media? How do they best prepare? 

The first thing I do is walk them through the entire training program, with an overview of what to expect and what they’ll be doing. We talk about how to be verbally prepared. We talk about why it’s important to over-prepare. And we talk about them as people, and why it’s so critical for them to be humble, accessible, accountable, and authentic. Our society today can see through the smoke and bull instantly – in real time. And we talk about what you know and what you own. 

We’ve seen examples of organizations stepping into social and political issues, some with success and some ending up with PR disasters. What general guidelines can you offer to organizations thinking about wading into issues or being forced to wade into issues? 

Organizations should get into one social and political campaign, and that’s civility and treating people with respect. We should all be sick of the lack of civility in the world, in our political discourse, our social media, and even our news media, not to mention day-today conversation. Social media in particular has been both a blessing and a curse in this regard. We have to show respect for other people. That would be one awesome campaign for all of us and the organizations we work for to get involved in. That doesn’t mean we avoid controversial issues, like race. We have to tackle those issues. But I believe we can do it civilly and with respect. 

Your firm offers more than media training programs. How did you become involved in risk and crisis communications, and joint information training? 

Like my work in media training, this flowed right from my experiences in the U.S. Army. We had to analyze just how prepared we were for communicating risk, how experienced our leadership teams were in communication, and what kinds of crises that we had to anticipate and plan for. That’s no different from what every other organization needs. 

Sign up for Aug. 16! 

Join us Aug. 16 at Ces & Judy’s in Frontenac for a professional development workshop on media training. Doc Joe Trahan, APR, Fellow PRSA, will lead the session. More information on the meeting can be found here

More about Doc Joe Trahan: 

Web site: 



Joe on the value of accreditation:

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