- Seek advice. Ask a reporter for feedback to improve your skills, says Kent Bottles, M.D., CEO of Grand Rapids (Mich.) Medical Education & Research Center. Bottles says he did, and a reporter once told him he failed to answer questions straightforwardly.
- Create your own publicity. When Bottles organized a conference on physicians making career changes, he called five reporters at the Philadelphia Inquirer and was rejected by four of them before a business reporter wrote a lengthy feature.
- Think ahead. If you disagree with the hospital's policy, figure out a way to communicate honestly without undermining the medical center.
- Learn to be selective. Know the media outlet before granting an interview. Experienced television commentator Steven Lamm, M.D., assistant professor of medicine at NYU-Bellevue, refuses to be interviewed on certain television shows that he finds manipulative.
- Understand your audience. Use a different approach and language with USA Today than with a health cable network, suggests New York publicist Nancy Haberman.
- Establish unique expertise. One element of newsworthiness is oddity.
- Learn SHIPCOT. Reporters and editors argue about what makes news news. But SHIPCOT is an acronym for seven basic news elements upon which all agree: Star power, Human interest, Impact, Proximity, Conflict, Oddity, Timeliness.
Tips for physicians interested in doing media interviews:
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