People often confuse their research findings with a “message.” To reach your audiences effectively, you need both. In preparation for a recent training workshop we tracked down this NPR story that was not only topical, but a perfect example of pairing a message with research.

First the research findings on the relationship between bisphosphonates, drugs like Boniva for osteoporosis, and a rare fracture of the thighbone provide the necessary news hook, an accurate and factual summary to capture immediate interest.

Dr. GILLIAN HAWKER (St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto): Although the number of fractures of these unusual fractures was pretty small—they’re pretty rare—it nonetheless did show a relationship with longer-term use.

The message follows as an accurate, powerful and in depth description of the findings. While the findings explain the new research on osteoporosis medications, the message goes beyond the specific results, connects with listeners and answers the question: Who cares and Why? Ultimately, it puts this research into a larger context and tells listeners what this means to them.

Dr. HAWKER: Hip fracture is a horrible, horrible event, period. Very, very devastating, and often an end-of-life event… You know, I’m in my early 50s, and my mother and all my friends’ mothers have horrible osteoporosis, multiple fractures. And that is really preventable in 2011. That’s wonderful. But in the heyday of the early days, when we all got excited about these medications, I think a lot of people who really probably didn’t need to be on them, went on them.

You can listen to the complete story here. See if you can spot the difference and as always notice the power and effectiveness of the personal story.