Media Training

Media TrainingDealing with the media can be a daunting challenge, but that challenge becomes an opportunity with the proper preparation. The goal of Shandobil Communications is to get our clients to look forward to the opportunities rather than to dread the challenges. If you know how the media works, then you can make it work for you. If you know what reporters are likely to ask, then you increase your chances of being quoted in their stories and quoted positively.

Randy Shandobil knows how the media works and he knows what reporters ask. For more than three decades he was a producer and political reporter for the San Francisco Bay Area’s leading television news station. He has seen powerful business and political leaders repeatedly wound themselves through clumsy dealings with the media. And he has seen the not-so-well-known, and the not-so-powerful gain clout and recognition by handling their media interactions well.

Shandobil Communications will help you develop the skills, techniques and strategies needed to approach media encounters with confidence. Most importantly, we will increase your chances of getting the headlines and the quotes you want.

We tailor our training sessions to each client’s individual needs. Before training begins, we learn our clients’ issues and assess their needs. No two programs are exactly alike.

But most of our training sessions incorporate many of these components:


  • Anticipate reporter’s questions: prepare answers and potent quotes.
  • Handle tough questions: learn how to bridge to topics you feel more comfortable talking about.
  • Communicate complex issues in TV sound bite time: the average sound bite is now 8 seconds or less. Most newspaper quotes are a sentence or two.
  • Narrow your focus so reporters will cover what is important to you. A shotgun approach to interviews decreases your chances of being quoted favorably.
  • Analogies and other linguistic tools make complex concepts or arguments easy for viewers and readers to understand.
  • How the media works: knowing how to help reporters meet deadlines increases the odds of getting quoted favorably.
  • Alternatives to saying “no comment” and how to handle “ambush” interviews.
  • What not to say: don’t repeat a negative, resist going off the record etc.
  • Appearance: how to relax, how to look and sound good on camera, proper body language.
  • Different interview formats, different approaches: taped interviews, live interviews, phone interviews, satellite, press conferences etc.
  • Blogs, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter: the role they play in news coverage.


  • Videotaped on-camera training sessions to build your comfort level.
  • On-camera drills on the topics and issues you expect to confront.
  • Handouts with reminders about key lesson points.
  • Tutorials with video clips demonstrating do’s and don’ts.
  • In addition to Randy Shandobil leading the drills, other veteran reporters can be brought in to simulate high-pressure, multi-reporter press conference scenarios.
  • The other reporters at the sessions will write and deliver non-published news stories based on the interview drills, so that the client can see how they would have been quoted.
  • Telephone refreshers: call us prior to your next scheduled interview.

Remember: the cameras and microphones are always on, even when you think they are not.