MLA Conference – Sunday Morning Speaker

Hello everyone.  My name is Kim Millican and I am one of the Library Student Bloggers.  I attend Wayne State University (online program) and this is my first MLA conference.  I feel incredibly lucky to live in Boston and have the MLA conference in my city.

The sessions on Sunday morning were extremely informative.  I particularly enjoyed listening to Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News Senior Health and Medical Editor, and his thoughts on communicating public health issues via television news.  In his opinion, communication should be first, be right, and be credible.  One interesting tidbit – ABC News has a team of medical residents who are learning how to craft articles suitable for television.

Dr. Besser emphasized that professionals should use the best science available, but at the same time, communicate it in a manner that can be understood by everyone.  He shared stories that became professional teaching moments, such as elected politicians asking extremely basic health questions during President Obama’s Cabinet Meeting.  He explained that on television, one is given a short amount of time to explain a complex topic to an audience that does not understand science jargon.  By telling a story in a way that engages people, a lot of information can be communicated in a short amount of time.  Two clips from ABC News were shown to the audience as examples.

Throughout the presentation, Dr. Besser noted that Medical Librarians are a key resource to helping professionals identify and translate scientific information.