Julie Rovner began her journalism career in 1985 at Legal Times, where she covered banking. She previously had been a staff writer at the Humane Society of the United States and also a press aide for a “very young and brash congressman from Brooklyn,’’ Chuck Schumer.
After a year at Legal Times, she was hired at Congressional Quarterly, where she first took on health as a beat, along with human services.
Rovner started part time at NPR in 1998. She also worked part time at National Journal’s CongressDaily for more than 10 years.
Since 2006, she has worked full time at NPR as a health policy correspondent. In her ‘’spare time’’ she is writing the health and human services chapter of “Congress and the Nation” for CQ.
Health policy correspondent, NPR
HOW YOU GOT INTO HEALTH REPORTING:
When I got hired at Congressional Quarterly in 1986, that was the beat that was open. I barely knew the difference between Medicare and Medicaid. Luckily, I had a fabulous editor, Martha Angle, who remains a friend and mentor to this day. She trained me well.
FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB:
I have an interesting, wide-ranging beat, and a big audience to tell stories to.
LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB:
I have way more stories I want to do than time to do them!
STORY YOU’RE MOST PROUD OF:
In Feb. of 2010, just as debate on the Affordable Care Act was coming to a head, I did a story on how the individual mandate was actually invented by the GOP.
It wasn’t the first story on the subject, but I am one of the few journalists who covered this story at the time in the late 1980s, so I was able to go back to my original files on the subject and talk to those “there at the birth” as it were. The story made a BIG splash.
YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE AS A JOURNALIST:
In these days of extreme political polarization, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to convince people you want to tell both sides of a story in a fair and honest and balanced way. There’s just so much more mistrust than there used to be. There’s also so much more background checking to do. It’s a much sped-up news cycle in which you have to be much more careful. Difficult line to walk.
PREVIOUS JOURNALISM JOBS:
Health policy reporter, Congressional Quarterly; White House correspondent, Medical News Network; contributing editor, National Journal’s CongressDaily; contributing editor, Business and Health Magazine; Washington correspondent, The Lancet.
IF YOU WEREN’T A JOURNALIST YOU’D BE:
Sad. Probably a health wonk in a think tank.
IN YOUR FREE TIME YOU:
Ride my horse (dressage and a little jumping) and train (obedience and agility) my corgi. And follow football (Michigan Wolverines and Washington Redskins). All are featured prominently on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.
WHAT YOU’RE READING:
“Star Island,” Carl Hiaasen (guilty pleasure; I am very weak for Carl Hiaasen)
ONE THING YOUR COLLEAGUES DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU:
If I could I would sleep until noon every day!
ADVICE TO A JOURNALISM STUDENT:
Be sure that while you are learning all the technical stuff that goes along with being a journalist these days (and DO learn all the technical stuff; you will need it), you also learn the basics of reporting and the ethics that go with it.
WHEN YOU RETIRE YOU WILL:
Write books (retire – ha!)