Archive for May, 2012

Obtain meaningful quotes for articles

May 21st, 2012

I’ve written about this before, and write about it again because it’s so important: to get your source talking in ways that will interest your reader, you need to know how to warm them up–unless they are ready to roll at the start.

One thing to do is think in advance about your source–if they are leaders in the field, they’ll likely be eager to share their views and educate you. If they are experienced but not used to talking about it, they’ll need some sign of your interest. Good questions are always helpful. A good question is one that shows you’ve been thinking carefully about the subject: ask about a current controversy, or about some contradictory issue, but not in a challenging way. Use a “could you help me out here” tone of voice.

And, share your fascination with the subject. The more you want to learn, the more likely you are to engage your source. Good luck!

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More health reform terms to clarify in your newsletter

May 16th, 2012

Writing about coordinating the full range of a patient’s health care? Will your readers know that’s what you mean if you say “clinical integration”? Will they know that you want to get organized so that everything from regular checkups to hospital releases to home care for chronic illness is recorded and managed by the same, informed group? If you insist on using “clinical integration” be sure you start by explaining what you mean.

Here, for example, is what the AHA says: “Clinical integration is needed to facilitate the coordination of patient care across conditions, providers, settings, and time in order to achieve care that is safe, timely, effective, efficient, equitable, and patient-focused. ”

And, if you are already really good at clinical integration, be sure to emphasize this to your readers. Because you are way ahead of the pack!

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Tips for interviews that work, part 2

May 11th, 2012

Let’s say your source just can’t schedule a phone call. Usually this is true with someone who is extremely busy–and being extremely busy means either that they are disorganized or, better, that they are a leader in the field you are writing about for your newsletter. This means, of course, that they are just the kind of person you want to quote in your article.

The solution is to use email as a conversation. Start with a question, e.g. “Can you tell me why human factors engineering is such an important part of your field?” Real leaders will be so engaged in their work that most of the time they’ll be happy not only to answer your particular question, but to respond to follow up questions.

Your job is to provide intelligent and thoughtful questions that keep your source interested and stimulate a dialogue. If your curiosity is genuine, their responses will be, too (unless they are merely disorganized).

Good luck!

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Tips for interviews that work

May 9th, 2012

(First, to faithful readers, sorry to have been away so long. I know blogs that succeed are blogs that are tended. Some illness in the family, all better now.)

Now, as to interviews, here’s why I prefer a live conversation, even if we can’t do it face-to-face because my source lives 3,000 miles away–and doesn’t Skype:

  • There’s room for new and unexpected topics, angles, opinions to emerge during the back-and-forth process.
  • Spontaneity means livelier language from my source, and livelier language is always better for my readers.
  • My source can hear from my voice how interested I am in the topic and in what people have to say about it. This means that my source will open up more and give me a richer perspective.

And if email is the only possible connection? That’s for next time.

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