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When the Headline Is You: An Insider's Guide to Handling the Media

ISBN: 978-0-470-54394-8
256 pages
October 2010, Jossey-Bass
When the Headline Is You: An Insider


Proven strategies for managing all types of media encounters!

Award-winning journalist and Fortune 500 consultant Jeff Ansell provides a how-to guide for leaders, executives, and other professionals whose high-visibility requires frequent contact with the media. Drawing on nearly four decades of media experience, Ansell presents tested techniques for responding to challenging questions and delivering effective messages. In addition, he reveals lessons learned and pitfalls to avoid by referencing recent news events from around the world. Valuable features include:

  • A behind-the-scenes look at how news is made
  • Complete guidelines to creating compelling messages
  • Specific messaging formulae for building trust when the news is bad
  • Step-by-step strategies for managing hostile or relentless questions
  • Insider tips on how to identify and handle misleading questions

An essential resource for navigating both traditional and online media, this book prepares readers for even the most challenging media events.

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Table of Contents



1 What Is News?

2 You Are the Story.

3 How to Admit Bad News.

4 Crafting Compelling Messages.

5 Delivering Your Message.

6 When the Going Gets Tough.

7 Twenty What-Ifs.

Appendix: Media Messaging Toolkit.



The Authors.


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Author Information

Jeff Ansell is a media and crisis communications consultant who has created a unique process for Fortune 500 companies to manage high-profile issues, including the Erin Brockovich case. As founder and principal of the consulting firm Jeff Ansell & Associates, Jeff's journalism experience gives him the ability to instinctively react to his clients' most difficult situations. Thousands of executives and communications professionals worldwide have been coached in Jeff's process.

Jeffrey Leeson is a professional writer and editor. He has edited dozens of business books and coauthored Leading a Learning Revolution (Pfeiffer, 2008). He can be reached at jeffleeson@yahoo.com

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Press Release

December 27, 2010
When the Headline is You

This video, by Jeff Ansell and Jeffrey Leeson, depicts why every executive, leader, and communications professional needs their book, "When the Headline is You," the essential resource for navigating media.

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