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Opinions of Saturday, 12 October 2002

Columnist: Annoh, Lyssiemay

Flirting With The Media

Lyssiemay Annoh comments of Mahama’s Thoughts “What to do with the Media”

I watched, listened and observed the NPP Government take office early 2000. It was very interesting to see how many of them including media and public relations gurus like Jake could slaughter their predecessors and expect a trouble-free time with the media.

You may agree with me that unless you are one of those enormously slappable, perma-happy people for whom even a quadruple amputation is a hoot, it is especially not an easy task to be in politics or face media attention. The only way to be recognised and perhaps be more successful in your career as a leader or politician is through the media. However, you must know how to work with them.

Sadly, the public relations advisers or image consultants have not caught up with Ghanaian dignitary.

Without a professional adviser on how to present yourself in public and deal with the Media you may consider yourself as one of these:

1. The dramatic and the apocalyptic:

In this condition, you become clinically depressed, need to see a doctor, get a shrink, admit it to yourself and get help. Prozac. Or else you’ll….

2. The philosophical and practical:

You decide that everyone gets fed up. It is a fact of life. The only way is up, up, up!

3. The mumsy and blunt:

You decide that you have got a lot going for you. You are fairly talented, intelligent, rich and handsome. If you ignore the baldness, the fat nose and the spare tyre of a belly-spread, you persist in rubbing shoulders with the media.

All are (in most part) well-intended but misses several key points.

The question is not “What do we do with the Media?” but “How do we work with the media?”

Chapter 12 of the 1992 Constitution is here to stay and let no one try to crucify it.

It is up to all those who need to share a bed with the media to work out which side of the bed is best for them. There are professionals available to groom you on how to deal with the media. They can also train you to know when silence is golden. The media is there to flirt with you and you can use it to your advantage or to your detriment.

The press has a duty. They must inform the nation. They also need to sell news to survive. Restrictions would only create greater appetite.

Ghanaian leaders should know the difference between a journalist, a public relations adviser, a media adviser and themselves. They should know that you do not employ a manicurist to become your hairdresser and vice-versa. They are part of the beauty business but have different roles to play. They may work together but write and groom differently.

The media may be the judge and the jury but when you are properly groomed to flirt with the media, they love you to bits and always come back for some more!

Lyssiemay Annoh
Chartered Manager & Public Relations Adviser

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of Ghanaweb.