What does it take to write an award-winning article? For Richard Mark Kirkner, the process involved finding the right idea, pursuing the reporting doggedly, and then putting it together in one compelling piece. This is the way reporting and writing go for most of us. But Kirkner had an edge with this particular story idea: He knew a bit about the subject, and he knew one of the best sources to tap as well.
Two years ago Kirkner read an article about robotic surgery that piqued his interest. As a result of his previous work, he knew a bit about the issues, and, better still, he knew many of the best sources to tap. Then he found an editor receptive to his pitch. Continue reading
Are workshops really worth your time?
You have to apply, make travel arrangements, and then sort through a massive amount of often technical information packed into just a few hours or days, all while under pressure to produce. Journalists can leave with mountains of research papers, stacks of cards, heaps of data – but wondering if anything really can come from all of it.
For Texas-based freelance writer Laura Beil, the answer is a resounding yes. Continue reading
Photo: U.S. Army via FlickrLiza Gross looked at how war spurs innovation in medicine in a magazine piece about the state of the art in facial reconstructive surgery for badly wounded soldiers.
With thousands of soldiers having served in Iraq and Afghanistan, our country will be grappling with the short-term and long-term consequences of those wars for decades to come. That means health reporters will find no shortage of opportunities to explain the health ramifications of those tours, from PTSD’s effects and new treatments to battlefield medicine applied in emergency rooms. AHCJ offers several resources to reporters covering mental health issues concerning the military, but there also are many angles to take in looking at the physical consequences of war.
In a new How I Did It article for AHCJ, independent reporter Liza Gross describes how she decided to write about soldiers’ facial reconstruction for Discover and the challenges she encountered, from wading through a huge evidence base of medical research to approaching her interviews with sensitivity and empathy – but not too much. Continue reading
Joanne Silberner did a heavily reported series of radio stories and web posts on cancer in developing countries in 2013. In 2014, Robert Lott, deputy editor of the health policy journal Health Affairs, asked if she would be willing to do a version for his journal. It would be easy, he said – just update the reporting.
It wasn’t exactly easy, but re-working the stories was fun, and remunerative. In a piece for AHCJ, she tells us about the experience and offers some tips for other reporters. Read more …
Previously, Covering Health has addressed two kinds of potential conflicts of interest that health journalists should watch out for: those of journal article authors and those related to sponsors of journalist trips or other training opportunities.
For freelancers, there’s yet another COI maze to navigate: ensuring that work for one client doesn’t create a conflict for another, present or future.
This sounds simple enough: Don’t cover the same research for two competitors, for example. But in today’s freelance ecosystem, avoiding these conflicts has become more complex, especially with the various types of clients freelancers might have. Continue reading