Posted by: smstrouse | July 15, 2010

Media 101

Our theme at First United this summer has been “Growing as a Congregation of Disciples” (note our symbolic pea plants!).  Well, I discovered that a “growing edge” for me is preparing for media interviews. I thought that I knew how to do it; I’ve been interviewed on TV and radio and in print without disastrous results.  But in the workshop I attended this week sponsored by the Beatitudes Society (, I learned the importance of being proactive rather than reactive, of taking control of the interview, rather than waiting for whatever agenda the interviewer wants to follow.

The seminar was actually conducted by Macky Alston from Auburn Media Training, part of Aubuurn Theological Seminary in New York City.  Macky was tough on us in our 3-minute video-taped role play interviews. He was bound and determined to stop me from getting across my core message:  “First United is a radically inclusive church that will go to extraordinary lengths to welcome all people.” 

He tried (and sometimes succeeded) in tripping me up with hardball questions about “what the Bible says about homosexuality,” for example.  In two attempts I failed to get our website into the interview.  At one point, I realized that I was about to lose my cool – not a good thing to do on camera. Thankfully it was role play and Macky was very supportive and encouraging about this being a work in progress.  However, it did bring home to me how important preparation is when dealing with the media.

So now I have homework, a whole manual of dos and don’ts and ideas for good PR.  Hopefully I’ll get the chance to put my new-found media savvy to work. In fact, I think I’ll send out some press releases right now.  See you in the news!




  1. Sounds like you are ready for the big guys.


  2. Thanks, Terri. I’m so thrilled that someone has actually read my first post.


  3. Sounds like a great workshop, and hats of to your new blog.


  4. You and your people are goin’ to hell.


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