MLO is lookin good!

Aug. 1, 2011

Author P.J. O'Rourke spoke at a writers' conference I once attended in Cashiers, NC. His sharp wit serves his writing and his conversation: “Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” MLO fits that category and would make anyone caught in that circumstance look real good ….” Why? Because its content is based on topics offered by its many “laboratory-ing” readers. As we prepare MLO's editorial calendar, all suggestions shared in readers' surveys are joined with those from editorial and sales staffs as well as the editorial advisory board, and MLO's owners and publishers. The “ed cal” is made from those topics, deemed to be the “most likely to be read” by MLO's readers.

After the public unveiling of next year's slew of topics, the editorial staff searches for authors, contributors, interviewers, scholars, and experts from various medical lab departments and/or from among industry vendors. Often, we find contributors from universities and public health organizations. Our goal is to bring MLO readers the caliber of contributors whose information helps lab staff make management decisions, improve lab-testing capabilities, and learn about up-to-the-minute lab news from its articles, columns, product announcements, and from varied lab-related viewpoints contributed by interested government, industry, and expert commentators.

MLO continues to provide readers with peer-reviewed continuing education, clinical issues, and lab management articles, all of which are introduced into the National Institutes of Health's PubMed. Working with the dean and faculty of the College of Health and Human Sciences at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL, we offer MLO readers monthly P.A.C.E.-accredited CE tests based on cover story topics — a convenient testing activity to help readers earn credits in order to remain licensed.

MLO added special feature, education and training, and current buzz sections where, last year alone, experts of all medical lab stripes have addressed a wide range of lab-specific topics: blood banking, outreach, HAIs, hepatitis and STDs, EMRs, POLs and reference labs, phlebotomy, infectious diseases, automation, pharmacogenomics, mass spectrometry. MLO readers benefit through our eNewsletter, LABline, where, often, print material overflow is published, along with other current lab news. Readers, including our student and international ones, can receive LABline e-news and MLO's digital edition via e-mail, and they can consult our website for up-to-the-minute medical laboratory news.

In each of MLO's iterations, we attempt to include as many topics as we can fit into our allotted space. The pages of MLO are, to us, our “real estate”; each month, we are guided by myriad reasons why a particular topic is not published. Sometimes, topics of interest to MLO readers (like coding, for example) might not be covered often since another publication in the lab-market niche may focus strictly on that topic. Sometimes, topics of interest to “big city labs” with “highfalutin'” equipment may not hold one iota of interest for a small rural lab that is still doing parts of its testing work manually. We try, thus, to create a balance between high-end reference and hospital laboratories and small privately owned laboratories. Let us know if we are getting it right!

And now, a new challenge: Making MLO the “publication of very last choice” for those readers who buy into P.J. O'Rourke's philosophy of “looking good.” Personally, my most recent copy is always right on the pillow waiting for me. And in the car. And on the porch. After all, one needs the appropriate props in the most promising places for that inevitable “ending” … and I plan on looking real good when mine arrives.