Conference panelists invite your input on their sessions

Health Journalism 2019 is coming up quickly – the fun and learning kicks off on May 2 with workshop-style sessions.

This year, we have several panelists who are soliciting input from our members and attendees ahead of the conference. This is your chance to get your needs addressed by the experts.

For the “Right-to-know” panel about how to get your hands on public records, Charles N. Davis, Ph.D., dean of the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, is doing some crowdsourcing.

He asks: “What records have you found most useful for beginning a health care beat? What are some go-to FOI requests we all should be making? Tips, leads, stories, we want them all! Send my way at”

The “Freelance pitch doctor” session returns this year. Editors will discuss real pitches to their publications. We encourage you to submit a trial pitch for feedback. If you are a freelancer interested in writing for one of these magazines, this is a unique opportunity to give your pitch a trial run.

This is not just a theoretical exercise – ask Linda Marsa. Last year she submitted a pitch for feedback to Undark. Her name was not disclosed, but after realizing her pitch had been chosen for analysis by Tom Zeller, Linda followed up that day and later received an assignment.

All pitches should be directed specifically to each magazine, and contain a headline. You can remain anonymous or include your name. Please upload pitches to this link. The editors on the panel will select which pitches to discuss.

As this is an open forum with real pitches, we ask that all writers honor the code of not stealing someone else’s idea. The deadline for pitch submission is April 5.

Also on Thursday, a workshop-style session on community data will generate health story ideas and provide research sources and techniques to support and amplify those leads.

Our panelists are also ready to work with attendees on in-progress articles. Want to know what’s killing infants and kids in your area – and how many are dying? Or how about what the local contributors are to all those “deaths of despair” from alcohol, drugs and suicide? If you have a data problem that’s vexing you now, panelists will come armed with suggestions. Just let Jayne O’Donnell know at

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