Wednesday, September 29, 2010

121. Vet communications

Perth, Thursday, September 30, 2010 6.28 am.

During a dinner after the Perth Royal Show, a 4th year vet undergraduate asked me what do I look for in employing a vet? This lady sure knows what to ask.
Excellent Communications skills with clients is a fore-most trait I look for in a new vet who wants to work at Toa Payoh Vets.

The following notes from a book in Murdoch University library on Sep 28, 2010 may seem irrevelant as it applies to the art of communications with readers of newspapers but the basic principles apply to veterinary communications in newsletters and brochures.

Book: Journalism & Meaning-making – Reading the Newspaper, edited by Verica Ruper, 2010.

Two articles I will summarise here.

1. "Images and Text face off in the broadsheet feature story by Dorothy Economou, Univ of Sydney" - The Stand Out - an unrecognised newws genre.

2. "Image-nuclear news stories" - a new news story genre by Helen Caple, Univ of Wollongong.

D. Economou said that the standout is an unrecongised news genre. It has the obligatory 5 components:
1. Large image or images (colourful pictures, illustrations)
2. Main bold headline ("screamer" headline")
3. Image captions ("screamer" captions)
4. by-line
5. Sub-headline (stand-first or write-off)

The 5 components enable busy masses of readrs to be attracted to buy the SMH. Others who want to read the long-feature story will go into details further inside the SMH.

The layout of 4 columns is as follows:

NUCLEUS: LURE (lst row, all 4 columns spanned)
Image 1

Headline Image 2 (right-most 4th column)

Satellite: Image 3 (3rd column) overlap 2nd row
Point Satellite: "Quote" e.g. letter from somebody Satellite:
Imager Anchor


I will post a picture as does not accept tables.

The "Point" with its verbal component (the standfirst or abstract of the written story) is the "story" in the Standout.

She said that the standout is visually provocative and verbaby abbreviated.

The writer, Helen Caple stated that the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) presents news in a new and innovative manner using the IMAGE-NUCLEAR NEWS STORIES which is a new news story genre. It said THE STANDOUT is an unrecognised news genre.

Basically it means that the SMH presents a new format to capture the attention of the busy time-pressed readers with a large picture and some text. if the reader wants more info, he can read the in-depth report further in the newspapers. In this format, the SMH sustains its readership and its profitablility by retaining advertisers and reader loyalty.

Helen Caple said that the SMH prints a large photograph with a heading (not a headline) above and a short caption either below or to the side of the picture. No more text, hence she called it the "Image-nuclear news story". The heading is witty and interests SMH's cateogry of readers.

HOW DOES THE ABOVE APPLY TO VET COMMUNICATIONS IN EDUCATING THE CLIENT ABOUT SURGICAL PROCEDURES? The following are my thoughts of applying the above to vet communications and education material

1. Big colourful pictures and text to "lure" or attract the client - Dog's eye pops out?
2. A "screamer" headline e.g. "Save your dog's eyesight or lose the eye by procrastination?"
3. Image captions explaining the surgical procedures in brief.
4. By-line - name of vet or surgery
5. Sub-headline - summary of surgical procedure.

Reading about other industry practices can and do provide new ideas to veterinary industry usually. Unfortunately, you need time to devote to research and reading. The above took me 2 hours to read and to draft. I still have to take a picture to illustrate what I mean.

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