Lights, Camera, Action! Media/Corporate Spokesperson
You see them on the evening news, on commercials for pharmaceutical and
health-related products and you hear them at conventions, meetings and seminars
- physician experts are emerging as a new career path. And while you already
have the knowledge, do you have the stage manners, do you understand broadcast
journalism, are you able to tell a story? If you're interested in either
reporting the news or speaking to groups interested in healthcare topics and
issues, physicians have never been in greater demand.
Media work can take on a variety of different trappings. Many physicians instantly think of Sanjay Gupta or Nancy Snyderman or maybe Doctor Oz, but you should also think about Alison Tender, MD... perhaps her name doesn't ring a bell, but I'll bet you'd actually rather have her job than Dr. Gupta's.
Dr. Tendler is the physician - yup, a real doc, in the Restasis commercials. She's an ophthalmologist in Sioux Falls, SD, and believe me, every time that commercial runs her cash register rings. I appeared in a national commercial for ADM-Supermarket to the World
, way back in the mid-1980's and it was pretty lucrative work then.
Commercial work can be expanded beyond the medical world as well. One client of mine was doing some broadcast work for the PGA-Tour and was asked if he would like to do commercial voice-over productions. That too is great work. Being a physician may open some promotional doors. And, if your talent is seen as more universal in appeal, who knows.
That's commercials. Local programming is an option, but don't expect your income to be as high. And even top 25 markets expect quite a bit of actual work from on-air personalities. By work I mean camera setup, editing and other production requirements. It's usually not just standing in front of the camera. Shrinking major media budgets have put a premium on the "Jack of all trades..." types.
Other media may be behind the scenes such as advising, providing professional advising on accuracy, authenticity and appropriateness, writing advertising copy and similar duties. This work may be done in an advertising, PR or Marketing agency. Many agencies are currently looking for physicians who can do these types of jobs that will help them land those big pharma accounts. It can be exciting work, behind the scenes. I've been part of the creative and production teams on several award-winning commercials for hospitals, and each one was an interesting and educational experience.
I'll suggest you also add corporate spokes-people, lecturers and similar posts to the traditional media list.
So, when you think of media, think big in terms of what you want to do, how much income you need or expect and where your real talents lie. If you want so be a "personality," then begin now. Start offering nonclinical programs to local groups, look for opportunities to appear on a local cable channel to explain something about healthcare to a lay audience. Sharpen your story-telling skills, yes, story-telling.. It's not grand rounds, but rather telling people a story they want to hear, with a beginning a middle and an end. Think of all those keynote addresses you've sat though, and think of the ones you really enjoyed. I'll bet they told a tale, not just an assemblage of facts. Also, consider getting a demo disc and other material to sell yourself.
Many different types of media opportunities exist, in front of the camera, behind it and in the worlds of non-major media. Call or email
me and I'll be happy to help you vet your goals and objectives.