14 Tips and Tricks for doctors when meeting the press

Dr Shock had a call from the PR department of his hospital today. Would he like to cooperate with an interview for a television program. The subject being Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Dr Shock did have previous encounters with the Press and television. Usually not so very satisfactory.

Twice now he gave an interview which was never on the television at all. On another occasion a patient was prepared on his own initiative to have an interview as well. The reporters chancelled the appointment.

Dr Shock has some experience, here are his tip and tricks in dealing with the press (never educated on University nor during specialization).

1. Be prepared, ask for the name of the program, the aim and scope of the interview, who else will appear or comment or be interviewed.

2. Ask the time frame, can you see the result first, can you comment on the result.

3. Always treat reporters with respect

4. Always warn the PR department of your employer and ask them for support.

5. Never make “off-the -record statements”

6. Know the points you want to make before you start the interview, rehearse these topics for your self.

7. Remember the less said the better.

8. If you don’t know the answer to a question say so.

9. The reporter always has a hidden agenda. They will always ask question you don’t expect.

10. Clarify the reporter’s question before replying.

11. Try through various questions to gauge the degree of familiarity of this reporter with research in your field

12. Never loose your temper or argue with the reporter.

13. Always send a thank you note or e-mail afterwards

14. Don’t be surprised by misquotes or unfortunate contexts.