Ep 4. What future doctors should know before working with the media


img_2103  Matthew Ramsey is a father of two with 20 years of experience in media rooms across the province including producer at CBC and journalist at the Province. He is currently the Director of Strategic Communications at UBC. This is a title which includes strategic planning and media training for executives and professionals like doctors. What I found most impressive about our interview was how efficient he was with his words. Note to self: use “umm” and “ahh” less. Also, try not to ramble so much.


  1. How does consent work, what is “fair game” to be published
  2. Caution with social media
  3. Tips for creating fruitful collaborations

Statistics Mentioned:

  1. The Canadian Association of Journalists has code of ethics with guiding principles such as accuracy, transparency and fairness. Kovach and Rosenstiel (2007) also outline similar guiding principles in describing what makes great newspeople.
  2. Under Canadian Law, defamatory libel is defined as a published statement about the plaintiff that would tend a) to lower the estimation of plaintiff b) would cause the plaintiff to be shunned c) expose the plaintiff to hatred, ridicule or contempt and d) is false and to the person’s discredit (Martin, 2003).
  3.  Martin (2003) states that a) few allegations make it to court and most can be settled out of court b) courts tend to value freedom of expression over someone’s reputation in cases where public interest is involved.
  4. Craig (2006) discusses the power of story in journalism. The author argues that quality is measured both by how much a work engages its audience and enlightens it.


Prior to creating Rule Out, I enjoyed learning more about journalism. Several books highlighted the need for media in acting as a check against the abuse of power. Some of those themes came out in the interview here including what is fair to be published. It is important to remember that due to the power that comes with our profession, we are going to be held to a high professional standard. Our patients will look us up online and colleagues will look at our social media presence. On the other hand, our privilege gives us a platform for advocacy, fundraising and education. Having a clear message, having empathy for our colleagues in journalism and unveiling some of the wonders of what we see everyday are some of the ways we can create productive relationships with our friends in the media.


Craig, D. (2006). The ethics of the story: Using narrative techniques responsibly in journalism. Rowmand & Littlefield: Maryland.

Kovach, B. and Rosenstiel, T. (2007). The elements of journalism: What newspeople should know and the public should expect. Three Rivers Press: New York.

Martin, R. (2003). Media law. Irwin Law: British Columbia



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