All this media coverage


<Views are personal and have no relation/bearing to anyone/anything I’m related to or part of>

As part of the team working on the opioid overdose detection project, I have been covered by print, radio and television media in Vancouver, BC and national media in a few cases. It’s given me a few insights into how media works and presenting/talking about what you’re doing in general.

It’s a positive feedback, all-or-nothing cycle. Once someone picks you up, and there is a whiff of public interest everyone jumps on it. From an engineering perspective it feels unfair, the same way u/gallowboob’s posts on reddit are designed to reap as much karma as possible.

General tips on speaking to the media (after inputs from the UBC public affairs office)

  1. Say little – Don’t say anything you don’t want to.
  2. Even if you’re live and you say something that didn’t come out the way you wanted it to, make it a point to take it back explicitly.
  3. Speak in short simple sentences, they shouldn’t take more than a single breath. You sound more coherent that way 😛
  4. Things may get reinterpreted into a version the audience/people wants to hear
  5. Something that was just pointed out to us was that media coverage can make the research ethics hearing much harder as the messaging related to the project/product is not controlled by you, but other forces that are not under your control.


What is this media attention doing to the project and le me?

  1. Making me freak the f*%@ out
  2. In pathfinder words, a Mage has cast haste on the party. Things are moving fast. Super fast.
  3. Bringing up more questions, and hence greater clarity on issues that we haven’t talked about. Questioning so far has been supportive rather than confrontational/takedown-ey. It will be interesting to see how we fare up to that line of questioning.
  4. Spotlight on our efforts when we were not ready for it. We were between prototypes to being with. Most of what we’re doing is now reactive to the attention rather than be proactive. Our twitter handle, @OverdoseDetect was created in response to the attention we were getting. We’re printing circuit playground straps in ninjaflex instead of PLA and the onshape model partly because it will look nicer. On the other hand, the contrasting school of thought one can never be truly ready and learn on the job.