Lessons from the tech CEO grilling session

By Seamus Byrne in Media News on

 

When you get the chance to sit down and ask a Silicon Valley CEO some questions, you’d better be prepared.
 
At today’s congressional subcommittee hearings into anti-trust concerns over Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple and their associated market power, too many committee members had not done their homework. Maybe they thought they had, or maybe they just thought they were the smartest people in the room. But both the good and the bad questions showed textbook lessons for journalists – and corporate executives – on how to prepare and conduct yourself in a big interview.
 
The big failing was the classic: thinking you could possibly ask something they were not expecting to be asked. Anti-conservative bias on Facebook? Conservative bias on Facebook? Zuckerberg’s answers weren’t great, but they were the ‘standard words’ we hear repeated on a regular basis. If you go too broad, you let them say what they were prepared to tell you.
 
The truly great questions thread the needle perfectly. Like Skywalker’s shot on the Death Star trench run, almost every question is just going to impact on the surface, but with good preparation (and a little help from The Force) you can land a shot that forces an answer to go somewhere they were hoping you wouldn’t reach.
 
These questions go directly to specifics. When asked broadly about ad targeting toward children on YouTube, Pichai had answers we’ve heard many times before. When asked by Mary Scanlon if Sesame Street can block junk food advertisers from its channel? Pichai leaned back on “user choice” and “subscriptions so you don’t see ads” because the answer was really “no, Sesame Street can’t do that”. Specificity reveals the canned responses where there is no good answer to be the weasel words they are.
 
Others know how to thread the needle, usually with a one-two punch. Ask them one question you expect a certain answer to so you can make them trip over their prepared response, or skip to the second question because you already know the answer to the first. Don’t waste your time by letting them make their obvious speech.
 
Pramila Jayapal pinned Bezos on the misuse of seller data to crush its competition. He admitted it might still happen. He might not have admitted as much if there wasn’t a Wall Street Journal scoop in April that showed it was happening. Jayapal knew she had that ammunition in her back pocket, and Bezos decided to give the honest answer first instead of getting trapped. But it still meant he had to give the honest answer.
 
It’s important to know that the CEOs knew this was live. This is not the same as when we get the chance to sit in a quiet room and talk. In that context they know their every facial expression won’t also be analysed frame-by-frame like they were in today’s hearings. Poor Bezos was the ‘every man’ who forgot to unmute at one point. Maybe that was staged to make him seem more human? It’s hard to know…
 
There were so many more moments, and I thank my learned colleagues for doing most of the viewing so I didn’t have to. But it’s worth watching more than a few minutes to see what both sides did right and wrong. The CEOs were coached by the best in the business. Thinking of ways to get something genuine out of them is a great exercise.
 
What would you have done differently?

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By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Women’s Agenda publisher and co-owner Tarla Lambert has taken over as editor-in-chief.

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Lambert joined Women’s Agenda in 2015 as associate publisher but was moved up to publisher/co-owner in 2017.

“Building Agenda Media and @WomensAgenda with @angelapriestley and our dynamo team has been one of my biggest life highlights. I couldn’t be happier to be the new editor in chief and keep growing our footprint. Small, female-led teams do huge things,” Tweeted Lambert.

Follow Lambert on LinkedIn.

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KIIS 101.1 FM breakfast co-host Polly “PJ” Harding has flown home to New Zealand, reported Radio Today. 

Parent company ARN stated that she was opting to return home and set up a remote studio link to continue the show with Jase for the remainder of 2020. 

She will return to Australia in early 2021.

Stay tuned with Harding on Twitter @PJHardingZM.

Shelley Lloyd exits ABC

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Shelley Lloyd has logged out of ABC Brisbane.

She stated in a Tweet that today’s morning bulletin would be her last, hinting that Emma Blackwood and Meg Purtell will be filling in.

Lloyd was with the national broadcaster for 24 years, with her work including hosting the Queensland edition of Country Hour, and recruitment and mentoring of ABC Queensland reporters.

Chris and Mel Dzelde exit Power FM

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The husband-and-wife tandem of Chris and Mel Dzelde has stepped down from 5MU and Power FM (pictured) in general.

Mel Dzelde said in a social media post that they were leaving so she could further deal with Stage IV cancer. She herself had been on medical leave for the past four months as Power FM’s content director, as was Chris on carer leave from hosting afternoon show The Shovel and Bull.

"Cancer has a way of showing you your priorities and for me, I’m visualising a future free to explore new projects and opportunities... I know I’ll be a better version of myself as a result. I want to thank my team for inspiring me every day. I know you’ll continue to make me proud," said Mrs Dzelde.

Power FM has yet to announce changes to the Dzeldes’ now-vacant job posts.

New state appointments up at Hit Network

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Southern Cross Austereo has set up a raft of programming changes for the Hit Network, including new producers and workday hosts for the statewide shows. 

On the producer front, Queensland’s Cliffo and Gabi show will be under the aegis of Carley Whittington. In Victoria, Riley-Rose Harper will work on Tim and Jess’ breakfast show. Ex-HIT Squad member Jorgia Pisani is producing the WA breakfast with Allan and Michelle while Matt Lucas stays on at NSW’s Gawndy and Maz.

Hit’s Community Division stations will have their own workday hosts for the 9AM-12 noon block.

They are: Tyson Witham (Albury), Mark Littler (Atherton/Cairns), Michael Billings (Bendigo), Ben Stevenson (Coffs Harbour), Ryan Bebbington (Emerald/Rockhampton), Dane McGuirk (Griffith/Wagga), Emily Crawford (Kingaroy/Roma), Joel Dixon (Mackay), Cameron Hilder (Mareeba/Mt Isa), Jason Coombes (Maryborough), Pat Silcox (Mildura), Carly Porch (Orange), James Preston (Port Macquarie), Josiah Shala (She

Hildebrand signs at 2GB

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Joe Hildebrand is now working with 2GB.

The Daily Telegraph revealed that the station has tapped him for co-hosting John Stanley’s weeknight show at 8PM, starting tonight. 

Hildebrand will be on for one hour, but station management will consider it as a test run for more duties. 

“I am absolutely wrapped to be going back to radio. I can’t think of any better place to be than 2GB. I’ve got a strong feeling that a lot of my old audience from Studio 10 are also the kind of people who listen to GB. These are battlers from the suburbs, people who live in the real world, who like straight talk and big laughs and I can’t wait to reconnect with them,” said Hildebrand.

Galloway signs out of ABC

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on

Patrick Galloway has called time on his ABC run.

He made his exit official in a Tweet with ABC Landline’s Kirsten Aiken, which he stated was his last on-camera appearance. 

Galloway had been with ABC for nine years, starting out as network sports coordinator. He became senior network sports reporter in 2014.

Follow Galloway on LinkedIn and on Twitter @Pat11G.

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