The Association of Health Care Journalists has secured two recent successes in its ongoing effort to persuade medical societies to allow freelance journalists to use membership in AHCJ as a credential to attend meetings and media briefings.
The Gerontological Society of America and the American Gastroenterological Association have joined the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and other organizations that have agreed to recognize professional-category membership in AHCJ as sufficient credential for admission to their meetings.
The effort, spearheaded by AHCJ’s Freelance Committee, is especially helpful for independent journalists looking for fresh story ideas, developing sources and doing the reporting and preliminary interviews necessary to pitch stories to news organizations.
“Access to meetings is vital for freelancers. While it’s nice to have a letter of assignment, the push to file stories from a meeting often keeps reporters in the press room, which isn’t always helpful for freelancers, because the nature of our work keeps us isolated,” said Jeanne Erdmann, chair of AHCJ’s Freelance Committee.
“Attending conferences without the need to file news allows freelancers the flexibility to get more from the meeting than a paycheck. Sometimes footing the bill myself ends up paying off in the long run. I can attend sessions with an eye for feature ideas. By the end of three days, I’ve usually filled my notebooks with story ideas. This approach allows for the freedom to meet sources, and to connect with editors and fellow reporters.”
Organizations that recognize AHCJ membership include the American Public Health Association, the American College of Chest Physicians, the American College of Emergency Physicians, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American College of Physicians, the Medical Group Management Association and the American Pain Society.
For a letter attesting to your current AHCJ professional membership, send an email to email@example.com. We will send a PDF letter for your use to your email of record. Make sure to keep your membership information up to date.