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Morgan LaRue, who has osteosarcoma, was featured in a MORE award-winning video news report.

AAOS Now

Published 5/1/2011
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Lauren Pearson

Building relationships with the media

Applauding reporters and producers for jobs well done

During the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference (NOLC) in Washington, D.C., the AAOS honored several national and local journalists for their work in writing and producing accurate reports on musculoskeletal health. These Media Orthopaedic Reporting Excellence (MORE) Awards—now in their sixth year—help AAOS engage and recognize relationships with journalists.

The MORE Awards recognize excellence in furthering the public understanding of musculoskeletal health and issues and in encouraging healthy behaviors in the care of bones, joints, and muscles. Winners are from print, broadcast, and online media and include health and medical writers, producers, and reporters.

The MORE Awards provide the opportunity for the AAOS to develop positive relationships with the media; past winners usually continue writing and producing orthopaedic stories.

Below is a complete list of this year’s winners.

Telling patients’ stories
The event is also an opportunity to acknowledge the patients who are important parts of a winning MORE Award story. This year, 9-year-old Morgan LaRue, whose struggle with osteosarcoma was depicted in a MORE Award-winning story on ABC World News, and her family joined the celebration.

Just over a year ago, Morgan went to the doctor for a sore left knee. A thorough exam revealed that Morgan’s knee wasn’t just sore, but that the pain was coming from a tumor in her leg. Her left femur was attacked by a form of bone cancer, better known as osteosarcoma, which accounts for roughly 3 percent of all childhood cancers. Because her young frame was still growing, multiple surgeries would be required to remove the entire tumor.

Orthopaedic surgeon Rex A.W. Marco, MD, and his oncology team at the Texas Children’s Hospital came up with a less invasive plan that kept the number of Morgan’s surgeries to just one. His surgical team implanted an extendable replacement bone that grows as she grows. At the time of surgery, Morgan was just the 15th person in the United States to undergo this procedure.

The ABC News report explained how it worked. Inside the implant is a tiny magnet and gearbox; when Morgan places her leg into a donut-shaped electromagnet apparatus, an electromagnetic field moves the smaller magnet inside the implant, activating the gears and extending the implant gradually. It takes 4 minutes in the apparatus for the prosthesis to grow 1 millimeter.

Morgan and her parents were invited to attend, along with ABC News producer Lara Salahi. Mrs. LaRue was happy to report that Morgan is doing fantastic and that, because the story aired on national television, about a half dozen other children were able to have this new procedure. Stories like Morgan’s reach millions of viewers and demonstrate the real value and innovation of orthopaedics, including the difference it makes in the lives of patients.

A hallmark of the Academy’s mission is to “champion the interests of patients.” Often, the media are the gateway to the public; by building relationships with reporters, orthopaedic surgeons can help disseminate accurate musculoskeletal information for present and future media stories. In this case, the musculoskeletal-focused story helped to empower other families that were dealing with osteosarcoma and offered them a viable, less invasive treatment option.

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Morgan LaRue, who has osteosarcoma, was featured in a MORE award-winning video news report.
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ABC News producer Lara Salahi receives a 2011 MORE Award in the category of National Television from AAOS President Daniel J. Berry, MD.
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Men’s Health editor, Laura Roberson accepts the MORE Award in the category of National Magazine from Dr. Berry.

Accuracy is key
With 24-access to the Internet and television news programs, consumers can tap into a flood of information—not all of it accurate—with the click of a mouse. Now more than ever, orthopaedists need to help patients recognize fact from fiction. The MORE Awards honor a journalist’s accurate portrayal of orthopaedic advances and procedures. MORE Awards are also given to appropriate advocacy-related stories that elevate awareness of orthopaedic research.

By doing so, they help ensure that patients are armed with accurate information. Viewing the media as a partner in orthopaedic patient education can help ensure that patients are not misled.

Submit a nomination
Have you recently read a remarkable story in your local newspaper or seen a report on television that accurately depicted orthopaedic surgery or educated the public on how to prevent or treat their musculoskeletal injuries? Have you seen a great orthopaedic patient success story featured in the news—whether print, online, or on athe air? If you come across something that you think may fit, contact the AAOS media relations department with suggestions for the 2012 MORE Awards. E-mail your nominations to
media@aaos.org

Help nominate reporters, writers, producers, and editors for top-notch musculoskeletal reporting. This is a great opportunity for you to recognize your local media and begin forming relationships with them. The entry deadline is Oct. 31, 2011.

Lauren Pearson is manager, media relations, in the AAOS public relations department. She can be reached at pearson@aaos.org

Winners of 2011 MORE Awards
The 2011 MORE Awards recognized fifteen journalists from national and local magazines, television stations, and the internet. Each winner was selected by the Academy’s Communications Cabinet, then approved by the Board of Directors.

Consumer Print Journalism: National Magazine

  • Katharine Davis Fishman, MORE Magazine, “Boning Up on Bone Drugs”
  • Stephen Fried, Men’s Health Magazine, “Win the Sprain Game”
  • AARP The Magazine, “Keep Your Knees Healthy”
  • Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times Magazine, “The Best Exercises for Healthy Bones”

Consumer Print Journalism: National Newspaper

  • Douglas Robson, USA TODAY, “Rafael Nadal’s physical style takes heavy toll on his knees”
  • Mary Brophy Marcus, USA TODAY, “Surgeon separates Phillies player from his pain”

Consumer Print Journalism: Local Newspaper

  • Mary Jacobs, The Dallas Morning News, “Boomers demand new knees, hips”
  • Amanda Schoenberg, The Albuquerque Journal, “Super Health Hero? Vitamin D may cut heart disease risk, aid cancer fight”

Online Journalism: Internet

  • Azadeh Ansari, CNN, “Strangers give Bolivian boy walk of life”
  • Paul Chaplin, Patriot-News, “Successful knee replacements require patient commitment to rehabilitation”

Broadcast Journalism: National Television

  • Lara Salahi & Susan Schwartz, ABC News with Diane Sawyer, “Growing Bones for Growing Kids After Cancer Surgery”
  • Katy Textor, 60 Minutes, “Growing Body Parts”

Broadcast Journalism: Local Television

  • Wendy Rigby, KENS-TV, “ACL Injuries in Girls”
  • Sarah Mayberry & Frank McGeorge, WDIV-TV, “Healing Hands With a Shot, Not Surgery”
  • Deena Centofanti & Sean Lee, WJBK-TV, “Firefighter Walks”