To the Editor.
—The report by Dr Gellert and colleagues1 assessing public health officers' interactions with the media states that problem areas were identified and calls for training. Health officials who want to improve their standing with the media should not underestimate the importance of these findings.I am a former television journalist, more recently head of media relations for the California Department of Health Services, and now a consultant who specializes in media interview training for health officials. The findings by Gellert et al tend to reinforce my own anecdotal experiences in working and consulting with and training hundreds of public health officials in the United States and Canada.There is no substitute for good training in how to deal with the media. Training should include information about media motives, biases, how editors and reporters decide what is news, and tips on how to be effective in an
Hartman NS. Training Health Professionals to Use the Media. JAMA. 1994;272(13):1002. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520130036020