Meet the media trainer of President Noy and his cabinet
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2010-07-11

Perhaps nobody knows the Media Trainer of President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) and his cabinet secretaries better than your Chair Wrecker. That is because she happens to be my sister, Carol Macgregor-Esposo Espiritu, and the sibling who came after me in the order of birth. 

Carol has been a journalist since 1973 but shifted to the more lucrative profession of Public Relations in 1985. As a college student, she was a student activist during the tumultuous First Quarter Storm. Carol joined the radical Leftist youth organization known as the SDK, the Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataan (Democratic Association of the Youth-Philippines). 

It was typically Carol to swing from one pole to the other extreme pole when she shifted from the SDK and worked for the Marcos dictatorship’s media organizations — the BNFI (Bureau of National and Foreign Information) and the PNA (Philippine News Agency). The birth of her eldest son Rojo (Roy), now the Official Bagpiper of the Manila St. Andrew’s Society, was a major reason why she shifted from “saving her country” from the “dirty capitalists” to raising a family. Carol’s second son is named Martel. Rojo means Red while Martel means hammer. The hammer is very much a feature of the flag of the Reds, the Leninists of the defunct USSR.

From her job as an Editor of the PNA, Carol went on to become an Editor and a Feature Writer of the defunct Business Day (1986 to 1987) and moved to being the Chief of Reporters of the Business STAR which was a part of the STAR Group of Publications. It was in 1991 when Carol joined the world of Public Relations — Zorilla and Partners, Avellana and Associates, Ogilvy and Mather Public Relations, Strategic Edge (the local affiliate of world leader Burson Marsteller) and PROSolutions Management.

The year 2000 was a pivotal year for Carol as she shifted from being employed by PR outfits to becoming a PR entrepreneur. She had decided to become the “dirty capitalist” that she once threatened to eradicate via radical reform.
As a PR practitioner, Carol specialized in what is called Crisis PR and Media Training. Among her many clients were ChinaTrust, Union Bank, General Motors, National Semiconductor, Microsoft, IBM, Shangri-la Hotel Chain, National Power Corp., TOTAL Petroleum, Splash Manufacturing, Philcemcor, EDSAmail; Digitel, Alsons Cement, Lafarge Cement, Union Cement, Phinma Group, United Pulp and Paper Corp., Siemens Corp., Cemex Philippines, DTI, Couples for Christ (Gawad Kalinga), Mead Johnson, Pharmaceutical and Health Care Association of the Philippines, Philippine Medical Association, Abbot Laboratories, Met Life Insurance, NEC Philippines, Motorola, among others.

As a PR practitioner, Carol refused to service clients who are inclined to play the payola game. This limited her potential business but on the other hand the bigger corporations, most notably the multinationals, are very careful not to be associated with payola paying PR shops and would thus prefer to do business with Carol.

With your Chair Wrecker’s methods of tender persuasion — you better do this for me or else — Carol agreed to help with the Media Training Module some government officials and political candidates your Chair Wrecker referred to her. Among those Carol helped with her Media Training Module was then Tarlac Representative Noynoy Aquino when he ran for Senator in 2007. P-Noy’s 2007 Media Training was conducted in the same venue where his cabinet secretaries are now being Media Trained by Carol.

During the 2010 election campaign, Carol accommodated the request of Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino to help some of the LP senatorial candidates. Now, Carol is helping P-Noy’s cabinet secretaries with the same, though updated Media Training Module which was calibrated to the particular needs of the Office of the President.

Ever since the Media Training sessions started last Tuesday, Carol became an overnight celebrity of sorts. When the Media Training was first announced, they identified Carol as the sister of Billy Esposo. Now, yours truly is in grave danger of being referred to as the brother of Carol! Imagine how that will affect your Chair Wrecker’s self esteem!

People and media itself appear to have been intrigued by the Media Training. The media must be wondering just what exactly this Media Training Module of Carol is for it to impress P-Noy and for him to prescribe it for his cabinet secretaries. They must be wondering if Carol had concocted some messaging formula that casts a spell on media.

Simply put, it is a one-day training module — reduced to just 4 hours — that evolves from best international practice but localized to suit unique Philippine conditions. Carol has worked with international trainers and has trained various multinational and local companies, personalities and government organizations. This training version is customized to the realities of Philippine media and information environment in the Philippines.

As verbalized by Carol in several media interviews, the concept is one of CREDIBILITY and CONTENT. A credible government official or candidate for public office cannot fail if media regard that person as credible. In the media context, that means do not lie, do not mislead, do not obfuscate and do not fool the media. Once credibility is preserved, then it all boils down to how the message is communicated.

These are the components of the Media Training Module:

* Overview of Philippine media    
- Philippine media
- New media
- Journalist and journalism
- What makes news?

* Key message development
- Best interview tips    
- How to achieve confidence, control and credibility

* Interview best practice
- Tips
- Video examples 

* Interview techniques:   
- Blocking tough questions and bridging to your message  
- How to flag messages and control the interview

* Simulated interviews/critique   

* Use of videocam to record and playback for critique.

* Participants will be provided a CD of the simulation exercises

Carol emphasizes in the Media Training that public officials should not regard the media as their target audience. In the case of the cabinet secretaries, the people — P-Noy’s bosses — are their target audiences. The media are their allies in being able to reach the people. The media serve as their umbilical cord to their bosses — the Filipino people.

Carol does not really have to prove anything anymore in the career that she chose. Her track record speaks for itself. But she considers it a crowning glory to be able to contribute her expertise to such a momentous presidency during this period in our history. Carol has a very good reason to feel proud and we her family are very proud of Carol.

Oh yes — just do not make the mistake of referring to your Chair Wrecker as the brother of Carol!

* * *

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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