Blogging Myself

During the pre-conference seminars and the first day of this conference, I have been blogging the presentations other people have been making for three reasons: as my personal note-taking device, to give my Mayo Clinic colleagues a reference resource on these topics, and to make the information available to my fellow conference attendees and any others who might find it valuable.

So now, given the fact that I’m doing the presentation, it’s kind of difficult to blog it contemporaneously. That’s why I did it in advance. Here’s my prediction of what I will be discussing. And if I’m wrong, this should be a good resource anyway. That would be the best of both worlds, because it would mean what we discussed was more valuable than what I had planned.

I define new media broadly, as anything that doesn’t require an FCC license or buying ink by the barrel.

As Shel Holtz says, new media do not replace old media. They are supplementary and complementary. And given the relative audience sizes, traditional media are still more important than new media, and should be the primary focus. Rocketboom, for instance, has a worldwide audience about the same size as what WCCO TV has in the Minneapolis-St.Paul DMA alone. But if we can pursue new media in a way that opens opportunities for mainstream media, that’s the smartest way to go.

New media (audio and video files on the web) have led to significant traditional media stories, such as this one:


Just as important is being smart about production, to get as many media applications out of a single video shoot as possible.

I talked with Shel just now about how to get “Add to” and “Digg This!” added to my posts, and he suggested that FeedFlare, which is available through (also free).

Even though they are not technically blogging or podcasting, innovative use of the web relating to a big story can help facilitate major news coverage while minimizing the burden on the people involved in the story. Here’s one example of a web update site used in this way, and here’s another.

Here’s the big wrap-up:

Everyone who is here today has already invested significant time (2+ days) and money (travel, lodging, conference fees) to learn about new media. It would be a shame

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  • Healthcare and News Media

    I was recently asked by the Minnesota News Council for a good source to speak on the quality of news coverage of medical and health stories.

    The forums will address the quality of news coverage of health-related matters. How do journalistic decisions like disease-mongering, use of commercial research, and coverage (or lack thereof) of health care policies/reform impact news and health care consumers? What can do to we create more informed and balanced coverage of health issues?

    I recommended Brooks Edwards, M.D., who is the Medical Editor-in-Chief for, and wrote an article on the topic for Mayo Clinic Women’s HealthSource that is posted here.

    Health News Review is another site that does helpful analysis of selected stories, and how they live up to quality standards developed by a group led by Gary Schwitzer, a University of Minnesota journalism professor (who also formerly worked for CNN and

    This post is a little off the ALI Conference track, but in responding to the request from the News Council I thought it would be good to share that recommendation with the world.

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    Carlsen Twins (and their Parents) a Career Day Hit

    Earlier this year I was part of the team supporting Jesse and Amy Carlsen as they brought their conjoined twin daughters, Abbigail and Isabelle, to Mayo Clinic to be separated. Before they had arrived at Mayo they already had agreed to a high level of media involvement, with Dateline NBC, the Star Tribune and the Fargo Forum following their progress.

    Before they arrived in Rochester, Jesse Carlsen was doing the media relations management himself. In late February he turned that over to our media relations team, so he and Amy could be open with the media without undue burdens or worries. We also coordinated with the care team to make sure the media involvement didn’t hinder the girls’ care.

    In June, after the successful separation and their return home to Fargo, the Star Tribune asked Dr. Christopher Moir and Penny Stavlo, Certified Nurse Practitioner, to speak at a career day for high school students, to encourage them to consider health career. That event was Tuesday, October 17.

    The several hundred students were very engaged and interested. We had a nice surprise for them at the end during the Q&A, when one of the girls asked Dr. Moir something about Amy Carlsen’s labor and delivery, so I used that as an opportunity to spring the surprise: “Why don’t you ask her? Amy and Jesse, would you bring the girls out?”

    There was an audible gasp when the kids found out the Carlsens had made the trip from Fargo for the event.

    Here’s a little video from the day…showing the progress the girls are making, and the intense interest of the students. At the very end you will see a dozen or so students, all with camera phones, all taking pictures.


    This is the perfect example of the convergence of new media and news media. Several Twin Cities news outlets, including the Star Tribune, WCCO, KARE and KSTP were present. For a planned event, you want to send your best reporters and photographers, and in the news coverage you see some excellent work.

    But the youthful cameraphone papparazzi shows that the ubiquity of electronic gadgets means there will almost always be a camera around to capture any newsworthy or meaningful event.

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    Flickr: “The New LIFE Magazine”

    Thanks to Jeff Jarvis for pointing out this post from a blog called What’s Next: Innovations in Newspapers:

    Juan Antonio Giner asks where you can find the most photos of the Manhattan plane crash and here’s the answer. Flickr, he says, is the new Life magazine. If I were the photo editor or a producer at a news site, I’d perform the valuable service of digging through the many pictures there to find the best.

    I’m not sure whether the various photo sizes available on Flickr are sufficient for quality newspaper publication (although I now see that the original size uploaded is an option for download.) But that’s more a problem for newspaper than anything wrong with the photos. Newspapers would just need to pick what fits their medium.

    For a newspaper web site, or a blog, it’s really easy to pick a photo, download, and post…or even more immediately, just link to the photo on Flickr and include in the site, like this:

    Plane Crash in NYC

    Professional photographers take scores or hundreds of pictures to find one suitable for publication. On Flickr, hundreds of pictures of a big event will likely be posted…so maybe more sifting of the “amateur” photos will be required, but Flickr makes it possible to have photos of some events that otherwise would be missed.

    Advice to news organizations: If an event is predictable (Presidential speech, press conference, sporting event, or anything that cann make the AP daybook), send your best professional photographer. But for breaking news, take advantage of the fact that millions of people have digital cameras and camera phones, and can capture events you can’t reach.

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    Blog Post During Our Session

    I am doing this blog entry as part of my presentation at the Wisconsin Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing Society conference in Green Lake, Wisc. The title of my talk is “Integrating Old Tech and New Tech to Multiply Marketing Awareness.”

    To help the group get started blogging quickly when they get back home, we will upload some video to YouTube, grab a photo from Flickr, link to a news story and an embedded photo (probably not a good choice of words given the subject of the story.)

    A bunch of David Glickman’s jokes have related to the case of former Congressman Mark Foley. Here is a story about candidates whose campaigns had received contributions from Mr. Foley’s campaign. And below, I’m pulling out a photo from that story, a thumbnail image of Congressman Foley.

    The point of the talk is that we need a balance in our emphasis between traditional media relations and new media. Far too many communications professionals are not as familiar as they should be with the potential of new media, but there also is an opposite danger: obsessing on the new and neglecting the old.

    The reality is mass media reach…well…masses. New media reach important niches, and what’s best about them is you don’t have to “dumb it down” to reach a mass audience, because that’s not the point. We need to reach both the masses for broad awareness, and the narrow audience that may be about to make an important health care decision.

    What I hope people will get out of my presentation is that both news media and new media are important, and they can reinforce each other. The video below is a mini-highlight reel telling the story of the Carlsen Twins’ separation. Abbigail and Isabelle are the formerly conjoined twin daughters of Jesse and Amy Carlsen of Fargo, North Dakota.

    In the case of the Carlsens, having a web site with condition updates helped make the management of the news media much more efficient. This was a way we could cooperate with Mr. and Mrs. Carlsen’s decision to open their lives to media, including the Star Tribune, Fargo Forum and NBC’s Dateline, not to mention the dozens of other media organizations who were interested. It also gave friends and family back home in North Dakota and Montana a chance to immediately see (immediate = without media intervening) what was happening, as several thousand watched the live webcast of the news conference after surgery.

    Lessons learned from the Carlsens will be helpful as we serve another family from North Dakota, the Fitterers. They don’t mind that there are news stories about their conjoined twin girls, Abygail and Madysen, but they don’t want to do media interviews. In this case, new media are even more important to facilitate their wishes.

    The news segments were recorded using EyeTV and the piece was edited in iMovie, exported to Quicktime and uploaded to YouTube.
    In the next session I will be part of a panel on crisis communications. I’m looking forward to hearing those other case studies and learning from them.

    Here’s a picture of me, that I had previously uploaded to Flickr. Pretty easy to include in a blog, huh?