How to front the media – Charlotte Mortlock

by Emma Wishart, WFEA Intern
Have you ever asked yourself, ‘How can I control my image?’ ‘How can I get my message across?’‘What can I do to represent myself in front of the media better?’. 

In late July, a group of inspired women attended Women for Election Australia’s Media Masterclass, and they left with answers to these questions. 

For as long as our EQUIP and INSPIRE sessions have run, our alumni have expressed interest in  knowing “MORE” about fronting the media, sharing their campaign message and advocating for their community using traditional media platforms. 

That is why Women For Election joined forces with journalist Charlotte Mortlock. She shared tips, advice and inside industry knowledge about how traditional media functions and how to liaise with journalists as a political candidate. Charlotte has experience in TV, radio, print, and podcasts. She is passionate about having more women represented in all levels of parliament.  

Attendees  received practical tips and gained a unique insight into how to present in front of traditional media. Whether it’s radio or a TV interview, this masterclass educated attendees on how to prepare and get their message across succinctly while also controlling their voice and body language – even in adversarial environments.

Many were surprised when Charlotte exclaimed: “Journalists are not the enemy.”Disbanding this myth is vital as it is one of the many barriers women face when contemplating a political career or running for election. 

Charlotte emphasised that although it may be scary, Australian politics and the media needs more individuals fronting the camera, writing opinion pieces and contributing to online platforms. Charlotte emphasised that we need individuals who understand their community, the problems constituents face, and those that have plans, based on local knowledge, as to how they can help solve these issues.

WFEA knows that  it can be overwhelming to put yourself in front of the media, and often feeling confident doing so requires practice, work and resilience. 

Charlotte suggested that women get comfortable putting their message out there by practising and reviewing a video recording of themselves, answering a question, or networking with key local media contacts such as radio hosts and journalists.

Charlotte also pointed out that as integrated community members, these women should not disregard how much they know and where they stand on issues facing their community. They should trust their knowledge and use it to answer questions authentically, highlighting the difference they could make when elected to public office.

Importantly, Charlotte reminded us not to be afraid to speak up when we cannot answer a question by saying that we will make inquiries and get back to that person, rather than answering incorrectly or coming up with a false statement on the spot. We can always circle back or recognise the importance of that issue by sharing a detailed answer in the future, acknowledging that it deserves time and proper research.

Coming away from Charlotte Mortlock’s Media Training session, attendees expressed a 30% increase in their confidence in facing the media, and a much better understanding of the media cycle, how to share their campaign message and and how to respond to negative remarks assertively. 

If you or someone you know has signed up to get elected, you can join one of our upcoming Masterclass courses HERE. You can also check out the essential EQUIP course HERE. Or learn more about our work and upcoming initiatives by joining our mailing list below.