In March, I presented at the Yorkshire branch of the BDA’s event ‘Making the most of media in Nutrition and Dietetics’. The Chair, Emma, had contacted me several months before to see if I would present on blogs and blogging! What a privilege to be asked to speak along side well known Dietitians – Sian Porter (talking about getting involved with the media), Ursula Arens (talking on written media) and Lucy Jones (talking about TV). Social media can be impersonal as it is all done via screens with out human contact, so this was the first time I had ever stepped out of my comfort zone (i.e. from my laptop at home) and talked about it in public to actual people! I present regularly with my day job, so that didn’t phase me, but this was a different subject altogether!

The event was on a Saturday morning at Leeds Beckett University, so I went up the night before and stayed with my lovely cousin and her husband who live in Leeds. I was glad to be talking first so I could enjoy listening to the rest of the event. My section of the event looked at writing a blog and social media. Writing a nutrition blog is one of the ways in media that we can ensure good nutritional messages are being portrayed to the public. The internet is full of wellness / health bloggers who base their blog posts and advice on personal experience rather than evidence based science. My talk looked at what is a blog, why we started the blog, how to start a blog and why it is important that dietitians and registered nutritionists are on social media. I will write more about the content of my talk in another post.

The day was well attended and people could also watch via online streaming from their own homes, which was very in-keeping with the theme! There was lots of twitter interaction, so through out this post I have picked out some of my favourite tweets from the day.

Sian Porter was up next. I was sat next to Sian so had a nice chat and she was lovely, we even swapped business cards (I am so glad I got some printed for the blog now)!! Sian talked about her career as a freelance dietitian in media. She continues with several private clients each week along side her media work in TV and radio. She discussed what drives the media. It is always the extreme; the fattest, the smallest, the celebs, the controversy, the debate! This is why we often see extreme nutrition stories. If going to do an interview (radio or TV) Sian told us that it was important to prepare, do your research on the interview and think about your key messages you want to get across.

Ursula Arens talked on professional writing – articles for magazines and books. She is a freelance nutrition writer with a degree in dietetics. She has had a varied career working in industry, food retail and for the British Nutrition Foundation. She talked us through how to lay out articles, how doing lots of reading yourself is important and which journals are good to read.

Lucy Jones finished off the day with her experience and insight into working in TV. Her passion came through in her speaking, she makes it all fit round her children and life. She told us media is instant and exciting, but you need to be flexible. You may only get an hours notice to do a spot on the news. If you recieve a phone call for an interview that day, buy yourself a little time (“I am very interested, but I am just on the other line, give me 20 mins and I will call you back!”) and then quickly do your research and think about your 3 main points you want to get across. She gave us practical advice like seeking advice from an accountant and be professional and provide invoices and receipts. If you want to get involved more in media then the BDA put on media training courses and so do Senses About Science – Voice of Young Science.

After the speakers there was a chance to network over lunch. Everybody was very kind with their words and I had some lovely comments over twitter.

I enjoyed the day and even enjoyed speaking (well the subject wasn’t to hard!!). Emma and The Yorkshire BDA branch did a great job organising and I will be definitely be looking out for their events in the future.

Will Hadfield watched the event live streaming straight into his living room and I will leave you with his key points from the day…

Photo credits: Professional photos were taken by © Ollievision Photography.

Thanks to Sarah Jackson, Caroline Foster, Stephen Garvey, Junee Sangani, Eleanor Johnston, Chloe Adams and Will Hadfied for their tweets from the day.