Fri, Sep 24, 2010 - Page 7 News List

Chile miners offered media training

THE GUARDIAN , SANTIAGO

With a rescue possibly only weeks away, a psychologist is preparing to give the trapped men lessons on interview techniques and financial management.

They have lived through a catastrophic mine collapse and survived for nearly two months underground, but now the trapped Chilean miners are preparing for a fresh ordeal: surviving the attention of the world’s media above ground.

With efforts to free them advancing faster than expected, the 33 men are receiving media training and lessons in how to deal with any financial benefits they may receive.

Government officials have said that the miners will be freed before Nov. 1, but many on the rescue team believe this could happen days — or even weeks — earlier.

The men’s survival has already brought them international fame and the moment when they finally emerge from underground will be the culmination of one of the most highly publicized rescues in history.

As that day draws closer, the men are to receive media training via closed circuit TV from a psychologist and a former journalist. They will be given lessons on “remaining poised during an interview, asking the interviewer to repeat the question if they don’t understand it, and how to say that they prefer not to answer,” said Alberto Iturra, the rescue team’s lead psychologist.

The men, who have received more than 1,000 job offers, will also be taught to open bank accounts and understand the basics of financial management.

Psychologists on the medical support team hope to shelter the men from the expected media onslaught after their rescue.

As the rescue effort advances, the government is rushing to put the entire extraction plan in place. Rescue capsules are being custom built and are due to be delivered to the mine in 10 days.

The device is designed to provide the miners with oxygen, video screens, Wi-Fi communications and a solid roof to deflect falling rock and debris. Rescue teams want to try out the device to ensure it does not spin on the way up and that friction with the shaft walls is minimal, to avoid burning the men inside the steel chamber.

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