I saw a great article today in The New York Times, Don’t Perform CPR on a Bed:
And other amazing and infuriating things I learned talking to readers on the phone. The article is by opinion columnist Farhad Manjoo. [This link is to a complete list of Mr. Manjoo’s columns. After having so thoroughly enjoyed today’s column, I will be reading his previous columns.]
When I read the above article, I thought the idea could be adapted to a physician with an office practice and blog [like maybe me]. The guidelines for submitting questions would be different [related to medical topics of interest to general readers, for example].
So here is the article in which Mr. Manjoo outlines how his Office Hours With Farhad Manjoo: You got questions? I may or may not have answers. And here is how it works from the article:
Here’s the plan: I’m holding weekly office hours in which I will talk to readers (and anyone else!) on the phone, individually, for about 10 to 15 minutes each. The conversation can be about anything you like: Your opinion of my latest column; your brilliant public policy idea; your subject-matter expertise (whether you’re a physicist or a Shakespeare scholar or a software engineer or whatever else); your thoughts about anything, from a great new book you’ve read to the technology you think will change everything to your favorite breakfast cereal. In other words, whatever you think is a worthy thing to share with a New York Times columnist, I’m game to hear it.
What will I do? Mostly listen, probably ask some questions, sometimes argue or push back. I will also probably be doing something else: I might be taking a walk outside, I might be driving, I might be unloading the dishwasher. (I like to multitask.) The point of the conversation will be just to have a conversation, but who knows what else may come of it — perhaps you’ll inspire a future column, perhaps you’ll become a regular source, and if nothing else, at least I’ll have a hot tip on a new breakfast cereal.
Because this is the internet, I’ve got to have some rules.
This is a private phone call. It will probably take place on a weekday afternoon, at a prearranged time. The conversation will be one-on-one and off the record. I’ll try to give you 10 to 15 minutes, but either of us is free to hang up earlier for any reason. This is an experiment, and I’ll try to talk to as many people as possible, but I apologize in advance if we don’t get a chance to chat.
Don’t sell stuff. Don’t think of this as a marketing channel. This isn’t a good way to get me to write about your company or some other idea in which you have a stake.
Don’t be rude and don’t go looking for a fight. I’m happy to hear your contrary opinions, but you’re probably not going to change my mind on something I believe strongly, and I’m not looking to be badgered.
Don’t call me to complain about The Times generally. I’m a mere columnist; I don’t run the place or have any power to alter anything here. I don’t even work in the office.
If you’re good with all these, fill out the form below, and we can set something up.
And then next up is the contact form [this is just a PNG of the form. Go to the article if you want to fill out a real form to possibly talk with Mr. Manjoo.]
And here is a link to the Reader Submission Terms that apply to the form and your phone call.