Freelance market guides updated

About Barbara Mantel

Barbara Mantel (@BJMantel), an independent journalist, is AHCJ’s freelance community correspondent. Her work has appeared in CQ Researcher, Rural Health Quarterly, Undark, Healthline, NBCNews.com and NPR, among others. She helps members find the resources they need to succeed as freelancers and welcomes your suggestions.


Freelancers make up roughly a third of AHCJ’s membership, a percentage that has remained stable as the organization’s overall membership has increased by about 45 percent over the past decade. We are an important force in the organization, and AHCJ’s Freelance Center is dedicated to helping freelancers succeed in their work. The market guides, which can be found on the Freelance Center, are a part of that effort.

In June and early July, updated guides for Medscape and Costco Connection and new guides for The Atavist Magazine and New Scientist were added to the AHCJ website.

Costco Connection pays well at $1.25 a word. Inexperienced journalists can break into the magazine by pitching short, 350-word or less member profiles. “Solid clips and strong pitches will gain entry on health pitches,” Managing Editor, U.S., Tod Jones says. “Health stories are mainstream topics with well-supported studies and solid takeaway advice on identifying, preventing and treating health issues.” Pitches should be brief and to the point, and the story ideas should have some tie to Costco products, services or members.

Medscape offers medical news to physicians and health care professionals worldwide. Editors are interested in pitches for features, which typically run between 800 and 2,000 words but can sometimes be as long as 3,000 words. They also will consider pitches for timely news stories, which typically run between 500 and 800 words. Rates are competitive.

But don’t pitch a news story about a journal article or a medical conference; those stories are assigned. Instead, pitch a news story that only you know about. The most common pitching mistake that Debbie Flapan, executive director for news and features, sees is “that we have already covered it. Freelancers should search our site before pitching.”

The Atavist Magazine is the place to pitch if you are interested in doing a deep dive into a story. This digital magazine specializes in narrative long-form journalism and publishes one feature a month. The features are a minimum of 8,000 words, and the baseline fee is $6,000. Articles Editor Jonah Ogles says he definitely is interested in health-related pitches, but freelancers should remember that he’s looking for stores that are plot- and character-driven.

New Scientist is a London-based publication that is looking for both news and feature pitches. “We pay pretty competitively in the science journalism market,” Deputy News Editor Jacob Aron says.

News stories are between 300 and 700 words, and features run between 1,600 and 2,300 words. Features appear both in the weekly print magazine and online; news stories may run in both or only online.

Like many other publications, New Scientist is not looking for news pitches about articles from the major journals; they have those covered. For features, Aron advises freelancers to pitch stories that will take readers on a journey. The most common mistake he says freelancers make is sending in pitches that are too long. A few paragraphs will do.

If you have suggestions for publications that you would like added to the market guides list, please email me directly at freelance@healthjournalism.org.

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