Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Conciseness, Emotion Help Make Most of Media Exposure

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Conciseness, Emotion Help Make Most of Media Exposure

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Medicine and health are so often in the news that it may be worthwhile to be prepared to do interviews in a variety of media, Ms. Patricia A. Clark said at a meeting of the Society for Pediatric Dermatology.

"The physician today cannot possibly get through his or her entire career professionally without talking to the media, so you better be ready," said Ms. Clark, a communications expert in media training, speech coaching, and message development from Ogden Dunes, Ind. "You do have a good story to tell, right? So the trick is how to tell it."

Before one tries to get a particular message across during an interview, it is necessary to understand the medium through which the message is delivered (television, radio, print) and the messenger.

"If you don't understand the medium you're working with ... and if you aren't an appealing messenger--and I don't mean handsome or beautiful, I mean eager, avid, happy to be here," she said, then the interview "won't matter. We will have 'remoted' you out before you get to the message."

Stories on the evening news are packaged into preset lengths: a 90-second story, which normally provides 10-20 seconds for commentary from the physician; or a 110-second story, which could provide 30-40 seconds if the sound bite is good or just 10-20 seconds if it is not. When a person goes on and on and does not deliver a succinct message in those time frames, the media will pull out a piece of what was said when they are putting the story together, leaving the potential for misquotation.

"You're going to say, 'You misquoted me. You took me out of context,' while the media will say, 'No, we tried to save you,'" Ms. Clark said.

The television camera diminishes appearance and does not catch subtlety, so it is necessary to restore what it takes away by increasing your smile, perk, and warmth. And on television, "every time you look away, you give away: You give away believability," she said. …

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