Nutrition expert and superstar registered dietitian Rosie Schwartz is based in Toronto and the author of the best-selling books, The Enlightened Eater’s™ Whole Foods Guide: Harvest the Power of Phyto Foods (Viking Canada) and The Enlightened Eater’s™ (Macmillan). Translating the science of nutrition into healthy and delicious fare has been her focus, both in her private nutrition counselling practice and her extensive work with the media. Rosie has been featured in numerous broadcast, radio and print media interviews throughout her expansive career! We are certain you will enjoy learning more about her and reading about her fabulous tips for your media success!
How did you get started in the media?
One of my clients, in my counselling practice, was a TV producer on Canada AM, and because of how passionate I was about nutrition, he suggested that I share my knowledge about various issues on the show. This was almost four decades ago, at a time before talking about food and diet was a regular morning show discussion. I began doing regular spots whenever they called me. That also led to a number of regular spots on other network programs. I later did 5 national media tours for my book which led to regular contacts in various media. This included segments as a nutrition expert but also many cooking demos.
As for my start in the print media, I had suggested to a food editor in Ottawa, who always called me with nutrition questions, that she really should have a weekly nutrition column in the newspaper (something that had not yet been done in Canada). Again, even though I suggested she use someone local, she told me she wanted me because she knew I loved food AND nutrition. This was followed by many sleepless nights as I had no idea how I would do this. A few years later, the column was syndicated and I was doing a second weekly column in the health section. These columns opened the door for many other writing gigs and regular columns. Much of the same happened with radio.
What was your most memorable interview? Have you ever experienced a “fumble” during an interview and if so, how did you fix it/what did you learn from it?
I have indeed experienced a number fumbles but one in particular stands out as it led to one of my most memorable interviews.
In the late 1990s, I testified at an FDA hearing in Washington which was looking at approval of the fake fat, olestra. I was so appalled that when I came home I made it my mission to make sure it was not approved in Canada. As a result, I did many print and broadcast interviews on the topic.
My fumble occurred when I debated a professor (a spokesperson) from George Washington University on a national morning show on CBC television. I was unprepared as to how this professor could twist the science around. It was such nonsense that each time he spoke, my jaw dropped. Little did I know, at that time, that the camera could be on both of us so my facial expressions were there for all to see. My husband pointed out to me later that day that I should not have reacted as I did – sometimes angry and other times mystified. I was so stunned by what he said, over and over again, that I really did not adequately point out the nonsense.
As I’m sure has happened to many dietitians in the media, for a number of nights, I replayed the interview in my mind over and over again but in the replays, I responded and made the professor look ridiculous. But again, this was nightly before I fell asleep, not on the air.
My most memorable interview happened about 10 days later. I was called to debate another professor (another spokesperson for olestra) – this time a local one. This interview was for Canada AM, but at the last minute, the professor from George Washington university was substituted in.
I suddenly had my opportunity for a redo of my fumble, something that never happens! Each time he came up with the exact same statement as in the previous interview, I was ready and shot him down. It happened over and over again. I knew that I was doing well when I saw some of the off-camera staff (many of whom I had worked with regularly) giving me thumbs up throughout the interview. I got all of my points in and while the camera was on my face and I heard the nonsense, I smiled.
Can you share one tip or a nugget of expert advice for dietitians who would like to work/who are working in the media?
One tip I would like to pass on is that it’s so important to show your passion for both nutrition and food. This is what has provided me with so many different opportunities. It doesn’t matter what kind of media it is, but sharing your love for what you do with the person you’re talking to is not only a key to success, but also will put you at ease for the interview.
A little more about Rosie:
As a regular contributor to print media, Rosie has been a weekly columnist in the National Post and other newspapers as well as an award-winning columnist for a number of magazines including Parents Canada, Homemaker’s, CARP News 50Plus and Diabetes Dialogue. Her articles have also appeared in a variety of other national publications such as Canadian Living and Zoomer magazines. She is also a regular contributor to television and radio and has appeared as a weekly nutrition commentator on CBC Morning for three years. Rosie is also often interviewed for her perspective on nutrition on national news programs. On her website, Enlightened Eater – she demystifies various nutrition issues while offering delicious recipes to her readers.
To contact or follow Rosie you can reach her at: