“I'm so proud to be a dietitian, and the idea of a 'team of spokespeople' promoting their profession in the media was really appealing to me.”
BDA Media Spokesperson
Job title and work location
Paediatric Dietitian working at the University Hospital of Wales.
Q. What attracted you initially to volunteer?
I'm so proud to be a dietitian, and the idea of a 'team of spokespeople' promoting the profession in the media was really appealing to me. Working with children and particularly teenagers, you become aware of the array of conflicting nutritional messages out there. It seemed that the BDA media spokespeople were able to offer a 'voice of reason' amongst the chaos of bogus health claims and I wanted to be a part of this movement. I saw an advert in Dietetics Today, and travelled up to Birmingham and had a lovely day media training.
Q. What do you do in this role?
The best thing about this role is that no two days are the same. My role can vary from providing a brief comment to a small local newspaper to filming for a major BBC investigative piece and the BDA Press Office provides great support. As I work full time, my employers have always been really supportive, allowing me the flexibility to incorporate small amounts of media work within my working day, and to work some time back where needed.
Q. Your biggest achievement so far…
I had a telephone call from a journalist putting a piece together on the 'best way to lose weight'. After a long conversation and a lot of explaining, when the piece came out it was very much focused on the importance of maintainable healthy changes, moving away from the 'all or nothing approach'. It was then that it hit me – not only had I changed this journalist’s mind-set, but I had potentially impacted on a multitude of readers. The power of the media and our role as the lead nutrition professionals is so important and little achievements like this highlight this.
Q. Would you recommend this role to other members?
100% – we are a fantastic bunch of nutrition experts with a whole host of experiences and specialties. We have a responsibility to be at the forefront of the media, promoting our role and quashing bogus nutritional claims.
Q. Has this role helped your professional career?
Absolutely – considering how I phrase things to the media allows me time to reflect on my phrasing with patients. Considering the messages we send to journalists allows me to think about the messages I send to other healthcare professionals. It encourages me to think about how my profession (and myself) are viewed and look at how we can continue to develop our communication skills as professionals. This is something I always include on job applications.
“Considering how I phrase things to the media allows me time to reflect on my phrasing with patients”
Follow Aisling on Twitter @AshPigottRD