AHCJ plans Health Journalism 2021 in Austin; still time to submit ideas

Jeff Porter

About Jeff Porter

Jeff Porter is the director of education for AHCJ and plays a lead role in planning conferences, workshops and other training events. He also leads the organization's data collection and data instruction efforts.

Health Journalism 2021We’ve got a lot to talk about.

Health Journalism 2021 in Austin, Texas, will be AHCJ’s first annual conference after the COVID-19 outbreak, but the need for stories covering all the angles of this pandemic will still be going strong. And even more stories – related and unrelated – are yet to be explored in the months ahead.

The conference will be June 24-27 at the Hilton Austin.

Austin – the Texas capital known for food, music and high-tech – will be host of a conference featuring three-and-a-half days of workshops, panels, roundtables and field trips covering the latest topics in medical science, health policy, public health, medical education, consumer health and the business of health care.

Sessions focus on the special needs of reporters, editors and producers as they attempt to cover these topics for their audiences.

It’s not too late to submit ideas for conference sessions. You can find the link here: healthjournalism.org/hj21. The deadline for session ideas is Sept. 10.

Conference-goers will have the chance to rise early on that first morning for all-day field trips to local research, clinical and educational sites. In the meantime, the conference site will be abuzz with skill-adding workshops – from writing to understanding medical research to exploring health data for journalists.

When the field trip buses return and the workshops wrap up, first-time conference attendees are invited to a newcomer welcome session, where they can meet members of AHCJ’s board of directors and learn how to make the most of the conference. This will be followed by an official conference welcome for all attendees, a kickoff plenary session and a Welcome to Austin Reception.

Health Journalism 2021 will mark its second day with a full array of panels, featuring more world-class speakers and journalists leading sessions. Choose from a selection of sessions covering medical research to mental health to public policy and more. The conference Exhibit Hall will open that day, featuring a chance to network, win prizes and enjoy some food. Before heading out that evening, you can attend the AHCJ annual membership meeting.

Another popular conference feature – PitchFest – will offer a new twist for freelancers. For the first time, attendees will be able to practice their pitches before sitting face-to-face with editors in a Mock PitchFest session. The Mock PitchFest will give writers feedback from experienced freelancers. Then they’ll have the chance to pitch story ideas to editors in a separate session. The weekend features a series of panels designed for freelance journalists – from making stories better to treating freelancing as a business.

Len Bruzzese

Len Bruzzese

Another highlight will be the conference luncheon, including a salute to the latest winners of the annual Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. It also will feature special recognition of AHCJ’s Executive Director Len Bruzzese, who is retiring this year. He became AHCJ executive director in 2005 and has led the planning and execution of 15 straight Health Journalism conferences.

Attendees will be able to meet congratulate award winners – and wish Bruzzese well – in a dessert gathering immediately following the luncheon. The afternoon will continue with a full set of panel sessions and end with a reception.

The awards luncheon, as well as receptions and breakfasts, are included in the registration fee.

The conference final day will feature the always-popular “how-to Sunday” sessions designed to help journalists use what they’ve learned during the conference. Learn how to cover local hospitals, dig further into health-related data and more.

2 thoughts on “AHCJ plans Health Journalism 2021 in Austin; still time to submit ideas

  1. Roxanne Nelson

    I’m guessing it was pushed to June in hopes that the Covid bans on gathering will be lifted by then? Because June is not a really good time to come to Austin, unless you really like heat and more heat!

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