You’re Never Too Big, or Too Famous, for Media Training

As seen in Commpro.bizHaving a big name just isn’t what it used to be. You know, uh, I guess that, uh, media interviews just aren’t Caroline Kennedy’s thing, you know.

Besides taking two minutes and twenty-seven seconds (a millennium in media time) to answer the simple question of why she should be Senator of New York, Caroline Kennedy said “you know” thirty times. That’s right. Once every five seconds.

If you’ve ever been to the Kennedy Presidential Library just outside of Boston, you cannot help but be struck by what a great public speaker JFK was and how he managed the national media without having it manage him. Natural talent? Not a chance. President Kennedy hired great writers and savvy consultants with media instincts. And he listened to them. So if the old saying is true that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, what happened to Caroline?

Simply put, she took the media for granted. And paid a high price for it. Not only did she embarrass herself, she took a little shine off the Kennedy name in the process. While JFK surrounded himself with the likes of Sorenson and Salinger to manage the message and the media, the thought of reaching out to a top-notch media trainer apparently never crossed Caroline’s mind, and it showed. In every interview she failed on so many levels:

  • Her answers were far too long and rambling.
  • She had no significant key messages.
  • She said nothing quotable or memorable.

A lot can be learned from Caroline’s Senate Saga. But much more from JFK himself.