#Slate Throwback: May 3, 1993; Teamwork Pays Off NYIT Professor teams up on book to combat children’s cholesterol

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When is technical writing not considered technical writing?

According to Professor George Haber, NYIT’s Coordinator of Technical Communications, “An instruction manual on how to change your spark plugs is technical to the everyday person, but not to an auto mechanic.”

How would you categorize a new book addressing the need for healthy cholesterol levels in children? Would that be considered technical writing?

A health and nutrition book for parents may be scientific and technical in nature to its readers- parents of small children- but certainly not to other pediatricians. It depends on the audience.

Dr. Reuben Reiman, pediatrician, wanted to inform American parents about a possible danger to their children’s health. This required explaining, in plain language, some pretty complex medical stuff.

Teamwork pays off- in this case, Reiman teamed up with NYIT’s Professor John Hanc to get his message across. Hanc is an accomplished sports and fitness writer, writing for Newsday and other publications.

The result of their partnership? Next month, Plenum Press will publish Combatting Your Child’s Cholesterol: A Pediatrician Shows You How by Dr. Reuben Reiman, M.D. and John Hanc.

Technical writing, in this case, can mean translating medical jargon into digestible information for parents of small children.

Conversely, Professor Haber says, “The writing of a repair manual for the EA6B Avionic system. That’s hardcore technical writing. But today, technical writing can be defined in a loose sense as writing and speaking for a specialized audience.”

Professor Haber described a former student who called to say he was hired for the position of his choice because he had a technical writing certificate from NYIT.

In the case of Dr. Reiman’s message for parents, the particular “specialized audience” can be described as millions of overworked, busy, time-crunched adults with a strong concern for the health of their children.

Thanks to teamwork and clear writing, Reiman’s specific audience will have valuable information in the form that they can understand.

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