One of the Best Public Relations Books...

It is a great pleasure to be featured in Heather Burgett’s most recent article on that features her top recommendations for enhancing your image and reputation. The article below lists my book, When the Headline is YOU: An Insider’s Guide to Handling the Media, as one of the best PR books to help your business.

Thank you Heather, and Up Journey for the recognition! 

My Keynote at the Progressive Dairy Operators Triennial Symposium

I had the great pleasure of speaking at the progressive dairy operators Triennial Symposium on the topic 'When The Headline Is You'. 

You can read the Ontario Farmer’s news article written by Ian Cumming on my Keynote below —

How to keep your cool when you become the headline; The truth is not good enough when dealing with mob media, speaker says

Ontario Farmer 

Tue Mar 12 2019 

Page: A10 

Section: News 

Byline: Ian Cumming 

Source: Ontario Farmer 

Toronto -Jeff Ansell trains people how to act and what to say when the media is focused on them, usually as a group and in a profoundly negative way.

Speaking here at the Progressive Dairy Operators Triennial Symposium, on the topic 'When The Headline Is You'Ansell is renowned around the world as a top media coach, mainly because he used to be one of those top “vultures” on the media side, he said.

Famed for uncovering Nazi war criminals, doctors dealing drugs to addicts, or vulnerable foster children, "being a vulture started to bother me," he said. The defining moment came one night during a slow news day; there was nothing profound to lead with and grab the local TV audience's attention.

A child had been in an accident that day and 10 minutes before they were to go on air the producer burst into the room and said, "good news, the child died. And the room cheered," recalled Ansell.

"I quit that night." Carving out a new career, "training people to deal with people like me," he said.

“The truth is not good enough," when dealing with mob media, said Ansell. "An accurate story is a happy coincidence.”

When the dairy industry is hit with events like Chilliwack in the media, all the components are there for the media to highlight it, said Ansell.

"Taking the Hollywood approach," you had your victim, the cows. You had your villains, which were the people working on the operation and you'll expand on your report with the witness, the animal welfare expert and try to find "the village idiot, who'll take that problem and make it worse," he said.

Ansell, through video clips, provided several examples of where the 'village idiot', either a company CEO, a supposed expert sent out to counterbalance the horrible narrative being presented, totally failed, because either they were not empathetic to the situation, were combative, and said very stupid things in the heat of the moment, while on the air.

He noted the long-term consequences of these companies who didn't handle the media correctly when explaining pollution, a terrible work site accident, or a bad product, ended up losing their businesses.

He also provided examples where the right image and honest words were presented in similar cases, the story went away much quicker, with the company "still able to be in business," said Ansell.

If you're confronted with a bad news story, "get on the front page, take your shot in the kisser, it will be the bottom of the bird cage tomorrow night," said Ansell.

Reporters will not go out of their way to mislead people on what you say, said Ansell. If caught, for that reporter, "it's a matter of personal shame," he said.

However what a reporter is good at, is getting you to say something that you wished you hadn't said, that they can run with to a headline, said Ansell.

When a reporter calls or confronts you, "they want you to drop everything, now," he said. However, if called, have questions for the reporters, such as the objective, the audience, the timeline, which, when known, gives you time and can help you focus on what to say, said Ansell.

“Don't yap fancy," advised Ansell. "Stack em, pack em, rack em.”

"Simply report your message," said Ansell. If there are multiple media involved, "find different ways and words," when speaking to the same subject, he said.

In the 1960s the average TV and radio sound bite was 40 seconds, today it's eight seconds, said Ansell.

When a person is confronted with the press for the first time, "they have racing brain syndrome; it happens to everybody," he said.

So get yourself composed, "carefully listen to the reporter and listen to the answer you give when talking back to the TV," said Ansell. "It's not a confessional."

Always remember "that a reporter can talk to you, like no one else can," said Ansell.

"It's too easy to get angry" back at them, said Ansell. When in that situation "you take on the perception of fight or flight; all you're thinking about is survival," he said.

This “out of body experience” can be mitigated by holding your breath, stopping and listening, and concentrating on how are you going to answer that, said Ansell.

The ideal village idiot, who will make a situation much worse, makes it all about them, said Ansell. "It's been a long day, I'm tired and want to go home, so let's wrap this up," was in one video where a company CEO met reporters for the first time, after there had been a catastrophic accident at a company.

You portray you and your company's value compass, and filter that through the message, that you want to do the right thing, said Ansell.

He used the Starbucks example of being visibly hurt and upset, plus doing the right thing, when some of their employees really disrespected a couple of African American customers.

As far as social media, trying to win there is hopeless, said Ansell. "About 99 times out of 100 you will lose. The best you can expect is to break even. Don't jump in every time folks say something."

Ian Cumming
Agricultural Journalist
Ontario Farmer

An Incredibly Inspiring Woman

I had the great honour of meeting Kim Phuc, the woman in that famously disturbing photo of a young girl in Vietnam, running down the road after a napalm attack during the war.  

Kim was badly burned by the napalm and it took her a great many years to recover. She and I were guest speakers at a convention in Scottsdale, Arizona. Kim is a remarkably inspiring and forgiving woman. Kim now lives in Ajax, Ontario


Communicating with Confidence - LinkedIn Learning's Top 10

My video series Communicating with Confidence has been named one of the ten most popular online courses on LinkedIn Learning

I am truly honored to be among such illustrious presenters including Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook. Communicating with Confidence has 1.3 million views so far and the truly good news is that it’s helping people across the globe – especially those of us who experience nervousness when public speaking.

Online Learning in Today's World

In today’s online world, having access to large audiences is easier than ever. Knowing how to deliver a message is another story.  Presenting oneself effectively is a skill that can be learned, developed, and mastered with the right guidance.  My LinkedIn Learning course Communicating with Confidence was reviewed by, a website dedicated to providing unbiased content on different online learning opportunities. 

'The Accountant of Auschwitz' Voted Among Top 5 Documentaries!

Great news for the producers of The Accountant of Auschwitz! The film was voted one of the top 5 documentaries at the recent Hot Docs Festival in Toronto.

I am honored to have been included in the documentary for my work exposing Nazi war criminal  Haralds Puntulis, who killed 5,000 Jews. Here’s the article I wrote for TODAY Magazine, which exposed this murderer.

The Accountant of Auschwitz at the TIFF Bell Lightbox

The Accountant of Auschwitz premieres this Sunday at the TIFF Bell Lightbox as part of the 2018 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.

Here’s a brief clip of the documentary:…/hot-docs-18-exclusive-clip-from-th…/

The documentary, in which I’m featured, recounts the trial of Oskar Gröning, the Auschwitz bookkeeper convicted of 300,000 counts of accessory to murder and sentenced to four years in prison. Gröning's job at Auschwitz was to collect and document victims’ belongings before they were led to their death.

With most Nazi war criminals dead or dying, the portion I’m in focuses on my pursuit of mass murderer Haralds Puntulis, who killed more than 5,000 Latvian Jews before escaping to Toronto.

Here’s how I got involved hunting Nazis:

An Honest, but Somewhat Unethical Politician

Holy cow – a politician who speaks the truth!  Hard to believe how honest White House budget director Mick Mulvaney was the other day when he told a bankers convention that when he was a congressman he did favors for people who gave him money.  Although his ethics are in question you’ve got to give him points for transparency

Why Joking Around with the Media is Never a Good Idea

Every once in a while during a media training session, a client will ask whether it’s okay to joke with reporters. My response is usually the same – no. Here’s an example of why, involving Elon Musk of Tesla who made an April fool’s Day joke that ended up costing the company big money.

'The Accountant of Auschwitz' Premiere

The Canadian International Documentary Festival runs in Toronto April 26 – May 6 and the documentary I’m featured in premieres April 29th. The film is called The Accountant of Auschwitz and it’s about Oscar Groning, who in 2015 went on trial for the murder of 300,000 Jews. Matthew Shoychet, director of the documentary, included me in the film because of the work I did as an investigative reporter, exposing two Nazi war criminals living the good life in Toronto. One of the Nazis, SS master sergeant Helmut Rauca, formerly of Willowdale, killed 11,500 Lithuanian Jews. When I found Rauca, I told Canadian government officials they had 7 days to arrest him and if they didn’t – I would tell the world this Nazi war criminal was in Canada and that the Canadian government let him live as a free man, despite the blood on his hands. Within 4 days Rauca was arrested and sent back to Germany for trial.

Here’s info on the premiere of The Accountant of Auschwitz.…&

2018 Amazon PR Bestsellers List

I am pleasantly surprised to see that my book once again made it to the Amazon PR bestsellers list. The honour of being on the list is fleeting, so I'll enjoy the moment while I can. 

Amazon listed When the Headline Is YOU: An Insider's Guide to Handling the Media as #50 in the top 100 PR bestseller category. When the Headline Is You focuses on how best to communicate difficult issues and answer tough questions.

Faigie Schmidt Libman's Story

While I was recently recording a voiceover for the upcoming documentary “The Last Nazi Trials,” the film’s director Matthew Shoychet told me about Faigie Schmidt Libman. Faigie is a Holocaust survivor, now living in Toronto. Born in Lithuania, Faigie cannot forget the day SS Master Sergeant Helmut Rauca murdered 10,500 people in her village. Faygie survived and was sent to a concentration camp. After spending a few years in a displaced person’s camp following the war, Faigie moved to Toronto and built a life for herself.

But she was reluctant to talk about her horrific experience, until the day she opened the Toronto Star and discovered that Rauca, had been arrested for killing 11,500 Lithuanian Jews.  What’s more, she discovered that Rauca had for years been living only a few blocks from her Toronto home.

Hearing Faigie’s story moved me greatly because as a reporter in the early 1980’s, I found and exposed Helmut Rauca, brought him to the attention of the authorities and had him extradited for trial in Germany.

Here’s Faigie’s story

Don't Stand on the Sidelines When it Comes to Framing Your Narrative

Some people in the news think the best way to manage their issues is to avoid media. Wrong. Standing on the sidelines gives other players in your story the opportunity to frame the narrative.  But as I told The Western Producer, only engage the media when you know your story inside out.