Mastering Media Interviews: It’s not about WHAT you say, but HOW you say it

Attend the July 28 media training course at the Summer Meeting in Boston

Joshua ZeichnerBy Joshua Zeichner, MD
Deputy chair of the AAD Public Education Committee

As dermatologists, we have a wealth of information about skin, hair and nails. On the topic of skin cancer alone, we could probably talk for hours about statistics, tips for sun protection, advice for spotting skin cancer early, and news about various skin cancer treatments.

However, for those of us interested in working with the media, we must learn to be more than knowledgeable. Effective spokespersons understand how to communicate their knowledge clearly, concisely and in a language that the audience can understand and relate to. In order to do this, we must become storytellers. This is because people rarely remember statistics unless they’re extraordinary, but they almost always remember stories—such as the woman who posted skin cancer selfies after years of indoor tanning; the games a mom plays with her children to get them to put on sunscreen; or a former U.S. president being treated for melanoma.

Since the media plays an integral role in educating the public and our patients about the specialty of dermatology, it’s important for us to clearly and effectively communicate our key messages during media interviews. However, this can be challenging given today’s fast-paced news environment.

To help members strengthen their communication skills and tell compelling stories, the Academy offers a robust media training course—Media Training: Developing and Delivering Key Messages—at the AAD Annual and Summer Meetings.

If you’re interested in becoming more involved with media relations, I encourage you to register for the course at the upcoming Summer Meeting. Held on Thursday, July 28, the course is a great way to practice your key messages and hone your media relations skills.

I hope you’ll consider joining me to enhance your communications skills in order to promote your practice, advance the specialty of dermatology and advocate for the profession and patients.

Meanwhile, should you need help with any upcoming interviews, head on over to the member-protected Media Relations Toolkit for background and talking points on a variety of dermatologic issues that have recently been in the news. If you need more information or have any questions, please contact the Academy’s Communications staff at

Hope to see you in Boston!