Tag Archives: career

Writing about new subjects, pursuing fellowships help freelancers keep careers fresh

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJBara Vaida (speaking) moderated a panel full of advice for freelancers on how to keep their careers rewarding. Lynette Clemetson, director of the Wallace House for Knight-Wallace fellowships, talked about the value of a mid-career fellowship to reposition a journalist’s career.

Journalists desiring to keep their freelance career fresh might consider writing new types of stories for different publications, says Laura Beil.

Beil is a Dallas-based independent journalist who typically doesn’t write about sports but decided to change it up a bit recently by successfully pitching and writing an article about obesity among high school football players. Continue reading

New jobs, awards and more: Get the latest news about AHCJ members

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Patricia Anstett, medical writer at the Detroit Free Press for 22 years, is among 22 staffers to get a buyout and will retire from the paper. A founding member of AHCJ, she worked at two Chicago dailies; a Washington, D.C., features syndicate; Congressional Quarterly and The Detroit News. She mentored a dozen interns through the Kaiser Health Reporting and AAAS fellowships. She can be reached at patkiska@aol.com.

Jeff Baillon, an investigative reporter at KMSP-Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn., won a regional Edward R. Murrow award for a piece he did on a young boy with autism.  The piece documented the tremendous strides the boy made in his development after his family obtained a specially trained therapy dog.

Heather Boerner has been named a Dennis A. Hunt Fund for Health Journalism Fellow, through the University of Southern California and the California Endowment. She is working on a project about health care access for undocumented workers.

Ellen Durckel spent 11 days in August producing segments for The Today Show, Good Morning America and NBC Nightly News.

Freelance writer Micky Duxbury was part of a team producing an investigative series on the effects of incarceration on Oakland communities for KQED News associate Oakland Local.

Dirk Hanson won the 2012 CPDD/NIDA award from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence, for media coverage that increased “public understanding of scientific issues concerning drug use disorders.”

Markian Hawryluk, health reporter at The Bulletin in Bend, Ore., was named a Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan for the 2012-13 academic year.

Carolyn Hirschman, senior writer/editor for the National Institute on Aging Information Center, is also administrator of the Center’s Alzheimer’s disease clinical trials database.

Tamara Jeffries will moderate a panel for the Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism Fellowship. She also was selected to attend the NIH’s “Medicine in the Media: The Challenge of Reporting on Medical Research.”

Sandra Jordan of The St. Louis American won Best Business Story for weeklies in its class in the 2012 Missouri Press Association awards for excellence in journalism. She was recognized for a series on diversity at BJC HealthCare compared to peer hospital systems.

Prerna Mona Khanna, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.P.M., was awarded the “Breaking Barriers” Award by the Chicago Foundation for Women for her work over the past 20 years in print, magazine, television, radio and online medical journalism.

Chris King and The St. Louis American won Best Coverage of Government for weeklies in its class among many other awards in the 2012 Missouri Press Association awards for excellence in journalism.

Richard Kirkner recently joined the Springer Vision Care Group in Ambler, Pa., as executive editor of Ophthalmology Management and Retinal Physician magazines. Previously, he was editor-in-chief of Optometry Times, an Advanstar publication based in North Olmsted, Ohio.

Gergana Koleva will pursue a master of science degree in health policy at the Harvard School of Public Health. In the meantime, she will continue to cover patient safety and health care fraud as a contributing writer for Forbes.com.

Peggy Pico‘s series about undergoing chemotherapy for stage 3 breast cancer won first place from SPJ’s San Diego chapter.

David Pittman, formerly of FDAnews, is now the Washington Correspondent for MedPage Today.

Paul Raeburn is taking over as chief tracker (chief media critic) at the Knight Science Journalism Tracker. He will be posting five days a week, praising and critiquing science stories, medical stories, health policy stories, and other works of science or health care journalism.

Gary Schwitzer, publisher of HealthNewsReview.org,  spoke to journalists, policy makers, physicians, public health professionals and medical librarians at the 14th annual Rocky Mountain Workshop on Evidence-Based Health Care in Steamboat Springs, Colo., in July.

Do you have news to share with your fellow journalists? Send it to info@healthjournalism.org for a future blog post.

How do you advise people who want to be health journalists?

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

Covering Health needs some help from its readers today. Felice Freyer, a medical writer at The Providence (R.I.) Journal and an AHCJ board member, is looking for advice to give people who want to go into health journalism.

Felice Freyer

Felice Freyer

Surely many of you have found yourselves in her position; so what is your advice? We’d like to hear from you in the comments below and we may feature the suggestions in an upcoming tip sheet. So here’s Freyer’s dilemma:

Every now and then, I hear from a young person who wants advice on how to start a career as a health journalist, and I’m never able to help. It’s embarrassing. Though I’ve been at this for a frightfully long time, I went the usual newspaper route of covering cops and zoning boards until the medical writer’s job opened up (thanks, Irene!). I don’t know if that’s even an option today.

But in any case, that route wouldn’t appeal to these people who come to me with rarefied credentials (such as one who contacted me recently, with a degree in public health and experience covering health issues in Third World countries). They are often clueless about today’s journalism world, but then, I realize, so am I.

What’s out there for beginners? Where would you advise someone to start looking? It is necessary to start as a freelancer or blogger, or are there actual jobs?

Update: We’re curious – how did you get into health journalism?