Multiple choice questions can change your story.

 Multiple choice questions can change your story.Multiple choice questions usually end badly when the newsmaker is duped into delivering an answer formulated by someone else, usually the reporter. However, this scenario didn’t play out as predicted in this story.

President Obama fielded a multiple choice question from CNN’s Dan Lothian.

Lothian asked the President if GOP candidate support for waterboarding was: A) uninformed, B) out-of-touch, or C) irresponsible? The President essentially selected D) none of the above (a choice not offered) and explained why.

Answers A), B) and C) may have played out nicely in the reporter’s story, but the President, as any newsmaker should, made the story his own by answering the question in his own words – not the reporter’s.

Speaking of nonprofits and the media …

What an impressive morning TV segment in Dallas featuring 25 local nonprofits!

These nonprofits worked really well with the “Good Morning Texas” producers and talent at WFAA-TV to deliver five minutes of live (and lively) television that informed and entertained.

This segment succeeded on another level, too. You had to be a robot, if you were not just a little inspired to make a donation on North Texas Giving Day, which is coming up on September 15th.

Here’s the clip from WFAA-TV:

This segment was clearly prompted by the urgency of the news peg: North Texas Giving Day, September 15th. This is “earned media.” Coverage is dictated by the value of the story to the community.

This television story was all the more attractive because of the continuous choreography before the live camera, irresistible animals and children, and creative signs and props.

But going beyond those production values,  the succinct essential stories told in the interviews with the leaders of Communities Foundation of Texas, Genesis Women’s Shelter, and YMCA of Metropolitan Dallas were particularly well-crafted. They were wonderfully brief, yet the audience was made to understand the precise level of human services rendered.

Well done!

I’ll be at the Center for Nonprofit Management in Dallas next Tuesday, September 13 to help nonprofit organizations boost their media savvy and skills and ultimately “Get the Media to Tell Your Story.” It’s a Lunch and Learn. You can click here for details and to register.

Walking out of an interview accomplishes what?

Christine O’Donnell, the failed 2010 GOP Delaware Senate candidate, gave us all something to ponder this week when she walked off the set of an interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan:


O’Donnell went on the show, she says, to promote her book, but she refused to talk about a topic that’s in the book. Ultimately, she shifted the focus away from her book and it’s content, placing the spotlight on her conflict of the moment with the interviewer Piers Morgan.

His question was pretty ordinary and predictable, and anything in the book was absolutely fair game for this interview.

On the same book tour O’Donnell hung-up on a radio talk show when the questioning got tough. Her handlers say it was a technical problem, but they didn’t try to get O’Donnell back on the air.

This behavior may sell books in the minds of the O’Donnell’s media advisors. But it says to me that O’Donnell was unprepared for these interviews that fairly questioned her past statements and what she says in her book.