Media Training2021-05-26T16:12:05-04:00

Why you will benefit from media training

It’s not about answering a reporter’s questions — it’s about delivering your messages.

“The reporter is out to get me.”
“I might say the wrong thing.”
“I’m uncomfortable in front of the camera.”
“I don’t have a good speaking voice.”

These are excuses to avoid interviews. The truth is, most reporters are only trying to do their job — to get a story — and have no interest beyond doing it and beating a deadline.

Reporters often cite the public’s right to know to get answers. This can put you on the hot seat. Speakers who don’t know all the facts can say the wrong thing. Being prepared for the media helps eliminate both concerns.

The Marx Layne & Co. media training teaches you how to:

  • Think like a reporter
  • Anticipate the story a reporter is pursuing
  • Craft messages to answer almost any question
  • Deliver your messages in a clear, concise, impactful manner
  • Become more comfortable, confident in front of a TV camera
  • Be proactive in your company’s media and public relations efforts
Marx Layne Media Training
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What We Do


Our team of professionals includes former news executives, reporters and newsroom decision-makers who know how the media works from the inside. We travel nationwide to train executives at Fortune 100 automotive and telecommunications companies, multinational food and retail companies, financial institutions, medical centers, large nonprofits, and municipal leaders and top educators.

Our training sessions emphasize real-world scenarios, placing participants from your health departments in likely interview situations that correspond with their individual training needs. All interviews are done with a TV camera to reflect the actual experience of the most challenging media interactions. These live training sessions are customized and interactive. Our training program will include:

  • Meeting with you to determine your communication priorities for each individual participating in the training, and to develop a structure for the session.
  • A media overview with brief summaries of print, radio, TV, Internet and social media. Each medium has distinct characteristics. It is important that these variables are discussed and understood by your leadership team and spokespersons.
  • Exercises in message development. Preparation is the key to all successful media interaction. We will assist each person in identifying and developing the key messages that are critical to each interview.
  • The approach to each interview can vary, depending on the medium. Part of our training includes presentation coaching with advice specific to each interview situation, whether it is print, TV or radio.
  • Hypothetical scenarios are developed for each participant, consistent with each person’s responsibilities at the health department, as well as their specific training needs. As each scenario is presented to an individual, the group works as a team to prepare the key messages that person will utilize during the interview. These scenarios can be tailored for print, radio, or television interviews although all will be recorded with a video camera. The group is given just a few minutes to prepare the person for the interview.
  • Simulated interviews, developed in conjunction with you, and designed to mirror real-life circumstances. These allow training participants to experience much of what occurs during a media interview. Al Upchurch acts as the reporter and our videographer records all the interviews.
  • Each interview is played back for review and critique in the group setting. We have found that this collaborative atmosphere enhances the learning experience for all media training participants.

Our training can vary from one-on-one executive coaching, small group coaching, and sessions with ten or more participants. All customized media training session will prepare you for:

  • Television interviews
  • Radio interviews
  • Print interviews
  • Ambush interviews
  • Live call-ins
  • Press conferences
  • Crisis communications
  • High level presentations
How Well Are You Prepared?

A television interview can be intimidating but it doesn’t need to be. Television provides a great opportunity to support your brand and present a story or message to an audience that your organization needs to reach. It won’t transform your business but it can be important to your overall PR and marketing strategy. Marx Layne Senior Vice President, Al Upchurch, worked in TV News for many years and leads our media training team. In this video he has some thoughts on how to be at your best in a television interview.

When asked what media training is, most people will say it’s for people who give a lot of media interviews. While correct, the more complete answer is that media training can help expand many communications skills. In the following video, Senior Vice President Al Upchurch talks about the value of media training for media interviews and beyond. Upchurch has 20 years of experience as a television news producer and manager, and 12 years of experience working on media relations and crisis communication initiatives for a variety of organizations.

Media Training Team


The Marx Layne media training team includes seasoned experts with wide-ranging experience working with the news media and other key audiences when managing media. Our professionals have a keen understanding of how the media works and know best how to engage with all stakeholders during and after a crisis. From the media, customers and suppliers, to employees, civic and community groups, elected officials and others, we are well-versed in mitigating risk while helping manage the message and control the narrative.

Al UpchurchAlan Upchurch joined Marx Layne & Co. in 2003 and leads our media training team. He has extensive client service experience in real estate, financial services, health care, as well as non-profit corporations and strategic public affairs. Upchurch provides clients with effective strategies to meet their marketing and public relations goals with expertise in media relations, focused communications planning, writing, and crisis management.

Upchurch spent 24 years in television news as a photographer, writer, producer, and newsroom executive including 22 years at ABC affiliate WXYZ-TV Detroit working as a daily news producer, special events supervisor and News Director. This vast news experience serves him well. Many years of daily performance under fire brings a unique understanding of hard and fast deadlines, the importance of working quickly and accurately, and the knowledge of the interview process from the perspective of a reporter.

Upchurch is a 5-time Emmy award winner. He graduated with a BA in Communications from Michigan State University.

Leslie PardoLeslie Pardo counsels clients in the retail, legal and not-for- profit industries. She is responsible for managing teams that perform a range of public relations, marketing and media relations programs. Her areas of specialty include media relations, adversity communications management, and coordinating large-scale events. Pardo is a respected public relations professional with extensive experience developing and implementing comprehensive media campaigns.

Prior to joining Marx Layne, Pardo practiced business law. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor from the University of Detroit-Mercy School of Law. She is a member of the State Bar of Michigan.

How Can We Help You?


Marx Layne & Company, has been assisting Verizon Wireless with media training for several years. Alan Upchurch has done an excellent job sharing his insights and expertise of the media with his trainees, and a pleasure to work with.
Michelle Gilbert, Verizon Wireless Public Relations Manager - Michigan/Indiana/Kentucky

After facing a number of crisis situations in Berkley this year, it was very obvious that more than one person needed to be prepared to face the media. Your training gave us a the tools to use with the media. It is one thing to talk about what to do when a camera is in your face and tough questions are being asked, but it’s another to actually experience it. The mock situations you created were a perfect.

Shira Good, Berkley Schools Communications Supervisor

Case Studies

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Marx Layne + Company: Media Training Experts

Marx Layne + Company | (248) 855-6777
Metro Detroit: 31420 Northwestern Hwy, Suite 100, Farmington Hills, MI 48334

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