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America Outdoors E-News
August 20, 2007

15 Quick Tips For Successful Media Interviews Transport Canada Announces Plans to Regulate Commercial Whitewater Rafting
Good Morning America Expected to Broadcast Story on Rafting Fatalities Register for America Outdoors Marketing and Management Conference Online

15 Quick Tips For Successful Media Interviews
  1. Have a clear objective. You should never do an interview without having a clear idea of what you want to see in print (or on TV/radio). That means having a key message. Write it down, know it well, and weave it into every answer you can.
  2. Press your point. Look for opportunities during the interview to repeat your key message. Open and close with it, if you can.
  3. Be ready for the worst. Take the time to think of the worst possible questions you'll get asked. Then think of the best answers for each of them.
  4. Be honest. You don't need to tell everything you know, but never lie, no matter how difficult the truth might be.
  5. Never say "no comment." If you can't answer a particular question, say so, but explain why. "No comment" sends off alarms for a reporter that suggests you have something to hide. Explain that you are unable to answer the question because it involves litigation, proprietary or personnel information, or whatever the case.
  6. Everything is "on the record." Don't ever assume or accept that a conversation is off-the-record, not-for-attribution, on background or on deep background. Everyone's definition of those terms is different, and you have to assume that everything is on-the-record.
  7. If you don't want it printed, don't say it. While you have to be honest, you don't have to volunteer things that are not helpful.
  8. Play editor. The reporter will only be able to use a small portion of what you say. If your answers are long, the reporter will edit what you say to extract the quote(s). If your answers are brief and to the point, then you are helping make that selection.
  9. Don't be afraid of saying, "I don't know." Do more than one interview and it's a lock that you'll get asked a question that stumps you. Say so. It is much better than trying to make it up. In fact, if you aren't 100% sure of the answer, you should say so. Offer to get the answer, if appropriate, and make sure somebody follows up.
  10. Be responsive. Press your point, but don't completely dodge the question. Answer the question, but still look for ways to press your point by way of amplification, explanation or clarification.
  11. Be friendly. Don't get into an argument with someone who buys his ink by the barrel. Most reporters aren't out to get you, and even those who are will be easier to handle if you remain professional.
  12. Don't be shy. If a question has an underlying premise that is incorrect, challenge it. If the reporter makes a statement that you disagree with, say so. An unchallenged statement could be used as a quote from you.
  13. Silence is golden. Don't try to fill moments of silence. In most cases, the reporter is simply writing down what you just said. But some reporters use silence as a technique (especially on the electronic side) and you'd be amazed at some of the things they learn when an interview subject struggles to fill it. When you are through with your answer, stop and wait for the reporter to ask the next question.
  14. Don't answer someone else's question. You may be asked about something a customer or competitor did. Be very careful about such questions. Refer the reporter to the appropriate source.
  15. Don't speculate. Reporters love to play "what if." Don't do it. A simple answer is that you don't like to speculate, and if the "what" happens, you'll be happy to answer the question then.

And here's a free one: Relax! You've forgotten more about the subject than the reporter will ever know. And if you are following these suggestions, then you have little to worry about.

Transport Canada Announces Plans to Regulate Commercial Whitewater Rafting

On August 14, 2007 the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, announced proposed Special-Purpose Vessels Regulations to establish comprehensive and consistent standards for commercial river rafting across Canada.

"These proposed regulations are an important step forward to help ensure that a set of comprehensive and consistent standards protect participants in commercial river rafting excursions across the country," said Minister Cannon. "They also demonstrate Canada's New Government's commitment to ensuring the safety of all Canadians on our waterways."

The proposed regulations will establish minimum standards for commercial river rafting, and apply them to all waters in Canada, instead of limiting the regulatory regime to the waters specified in the Boating Restriction Regulations. Therefore, all commercial river rafting requirements will be contained in one regulation and provide a more effective and consistent application of safety standards across the country.

They will address such matters as vessel and safety equipment requirements; operational requirements, such as the wearing of life jackets by all participants; and the keeping of records for three years after an excursion including the name(s) of the guide(s), the date of the excursion, the number of passengers on the excursion, a geographical description of the waters on which the excursion took place, the contents of the safety briefing and a copy of the rescue plan.

Additionally, they will ensure consistency in the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 (CSA 2001) which came into effect on July 1, 2007. This new Act replaces the Canada Shipping Act as the principal legislation governing safety in marine transportation and recreational boating, as well as protection of the marine environment.

The proposed Regulations will apply to inflatable vessels that carry persons on an excursion in Canadian waters for remuneration and are controlled by a guide. These proposed Regulations will not apply to motorized rigid-hull inflatable vessels

Good Morning America Expected to Broadcast Story on Rafting Fatalities

Sometime, this week, perhaps as early as tomorrow, Good Morning America (GMA) is expected to broadcast a piece about several commercial rafting fatalities that have occurred this year. AO member John Cantamessa was interviewed by GMA last week. Some misinformation about the number of guided rafting deaths is circulating on the internet and AO has posted a response on our website. For example, American Whitewater's data includes deaths resulting from raft rentals. A summary of fatalities to date is provided below. AO's Executive Director spoke with the reporter and corrected some misinformation found on the web.

Fatalities in 2007.
There have been 9 deaths on commercially guided trips in 2007. Two appear to have been heart attacks. On average 6 to 7 people die on commercially guide whitewater trips each year. An estimated 2.5 to 3 million Americans take guided raft trips each year.

Whitewater rafting is regulated by state or federal authorities in almost every location. In some areas, state and federal agencies have overlapping regulatory authority. At a minimum, regulations commonly specify the number of trips required for a guide to be eligible to run trips, require first aid and CPR training and require customers to wear Type V life jackets

Register for America Outdoors Marketing and Management Conference Online

We are still adding programs to the agenda but the core of the programming is posted on line at agenda. Watch for new upgrades to this website soon. In the meantime pre-register by going to the Online Registration form.

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America Outdoors Staff


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David L. Brown Executive Director dbrown@americaoutdoors.org
Robin Brown Communications Director robin@americaoutdoors.org
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