New and updated freelance market guides now available

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, and NPR, among others. She helps members find the resources they need to succeed as freelancers and welcomes your suggestions.

Photo: Raul Pacheco-Vega via Flickr

It’s been a busy month getting market guides ready for the AHCJ website. I’d like to give a shout-out to Joseph Burns, AHCJ’s core topic leader for insurance, and to freelance medical writer and editor Erin Boyle for their help.

Three new freelance market guides and one updated guide have been posted on the AHCJ website. The guides for the Well section of The New York Times (created by Joseph), Cancer Today (created by Erin), and Next Avenue are new, and the Undark market guide is an update.

Our Freelance topic page now features 19 market guides, with more coming every month. Not all of them have been updated, but I’m working on that. Please email me with suggestions of publications you would like to see.

NYT’s Well section is looking for service journalism focusing on health and wellness. Articles need to be supported by science. “Additionally, we are looking for profiles of particularly engaging personalities,” says Erik Vance, Well staff editor. The section updates its webpage daily, primarily on weekdays. The Times pays $1/word for articles that typically run between 1,000 and 1,500 words.

Cancer Today also pays $1/word. News stories typically are 300–400 words in length, and long features run up to 2,000 words. Freelancers should keep in mind when pitching that they are writing for cancer patients, survivors, and their family members and friends. The magazine is published quarterly, and the website is updated with fresh content twice a week. Space and assignments are at a premium in the magazine. There is more opportunity on our website for writers who are new to us,” says Executive Editor Kevin McLaughlin.

The digital magazine Undark has a regular need for freelance work: about five to six smaller pieces per week and approximately one long-form article each month. It too pays $1/ word, for articles that range from 1,000 to 3,000 words in length. The five-year-old publication is aimed at a general audience that wants to know and understand how science intersects with politics, economics, and culture. Editor in Chief Tom Zeller, Jr. says the editors receive a lot of TNS pitches (topic, not story).

“The best way to capture our attention is to have a great opening line that tells a story,” he said. If you can grab us with a yarn, that’s worth its weight in gold.”

The digital publication Next Avenue does not pay as well, but there is a lot of opportunity for freelancers. It has multiple online channels, including health and caregiving, and publishes five days a week. Experienced writers can expect to earn $500 for an 800 to 1,000 word story. Next Avenue pays new writers about $350. For its health channel, areas covered include nutrition, cancer, dementia and mental health. Each article should offer readers “actionable advice” and should include experts. But a regular person needs to be at the center of the story, says health and caregiving editor Kathy Ritchie. “It needs to have a soul.”

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