Category Archives: Freelancing

Deciphering contracts: Webcast to cover journalists’ rights, negotiations, insurance and more

Jeanne Erdmann

About Jeanne Erdmann

Jeanne Erdmann is an award-winning health and science writer based in Wentzville, Mo. A member of AHCJ's board of directors, she is the chair of the organization's Freelance Committee. Her work has appeared in Discover, Women’s Health, Aeon, Slate, The Washington Post, Nature, Nature Medicine and other publications. You can follow her at @jeanne_erdmann.

Few moments are more gratifying to a freelancer than a new contract landing in our inbox.

Contracts solidify the hard work and the leap-of-faith that began with a pitch. They begin what could be a long, profitable relationship with a publication, perhaps a dream publication that’s finally taken a pitch. They’re a physical sign that – for another month at least – we can pay off bills, college loans, cover the rent. Continue reading

Fellow journalists remember NY Times’ David Corcoran

Lindy Washburn

About Lindy Washburn

Lindy Washburn (lindywa) is a health care reporter for Gannett NJ, NorthJersey.com and The Record.

David Corcoran, right, listens to a story pitch from independent journalist Heather Boerner during AHCJ’s Freelance PitchFest at Health Journalism 2014 in Denver.

David Corcoran, who as editor of the New York Times’s weekly science section was a fixture at  AHCJ’s annual Freelance PitchFest, died Aug. 4 at his home in New Mexico.  The cause of death was leukemia, said his wife, Bonnie Stetson. He was 72.

Corcoran was a well-loved editor during 26 years at the Times. He moved there after nearly two decades at The Record in northern New Jersey, where he wrote an opinion column and edited the editorial page. At the Times, he ascended quickly, starting as a copy editor and eventually working on the weekend, OpEd, graphics, New Jersey and education desks before leading the Science Times section, from which he retired in 2014. Continue reading

AHCJ board members speak at World Conference of Science Journalists #WCSJ2019

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

AHCJ board president Ivan Oransky, M.D., spoke on a panel about "Reporting on scientific fraud around the world" at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Lausanne, Switzerland, on July 2.

Len Bruzzese/AHCJAHCJ board president Ivan Oransky, M.D., spoke on a panel about “Reporting on scientific fraud around the world” at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Lausanne, Switzerland, on July 2.

Ivan Oransky, M.D., president of AHCJ’s board of directors, and Maryn McKenna, an AHCJ board member, were among the speakers at the World Conference of Science Journalists in Lausanne, Switzerland, on July 2.

Oransky, who is vice president, editorial at Medscape and Distinguished Writer In Residence at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, spoke about reporting on scientific fraud, something he regularly covers for Retraction Watch. Continue reading

Using narrative to link climate change to changes in global health

Bara Vaida

About Bara Vaida

Bara Vaida (@barav) is AHCJ's core topic leader on infectious diseases. An independent journalist, she has written extensively about health policy and infectious diseases. Her work has appeared in outlets that include the National Journal, Agence France-Presse, Bloomberg News, McClatchy News Service, MSNBC, NPR, Politico and The Washington Post.

Satellite view of South Africa.

The threat of emerging infectious diseases is expanding as climate change is altering the range of animals, people and the pathogens that they carry.

Warmer and wetter weather, as well as changing land use and global transportation means that diseases don’t remain behind borders, and populations are being exposed to new diseases like Zika, ebola and new strains of influenza. Continue reading

Boning up on unfamiliar research areas can pay off with specialized knowledge, more assignments

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Photo: bc the path via Flickr

In a recent social media post, a fellow journalist asked how others get up to speed on reporting about topics new to them, or even covering a new subtopic within an area they already cover. Here’s some of what was shared in that online discussion, and I encourage others to share their tips in the comments as well.

If it’s a quick piece with a tight turnaround and I find I’m out of my depth, I go back to the editor and say so. I’ve turned down assignments even after taking them if I realize I just don’t have the necessary foundational knowledge. Continue reading

Freelance investigative reporting may not be easy, but it’s possible

Tara Haelle

About Tara Haelle

Tara Haelle (@TaraHaelle) is AHCJ's medical studies core topic leader, guiding journalists through the jargon-filled shorthand of science and research and enabling them to translate the evidence into accurate information.

Investigative reporting is not easy as a freelance journalist, but it’s not impossible either.

The Health Journalism 2019 session on investigative reporting for freelancers on Saturday revealed tips, resources and success stories to inspire freelancers to dig deeper into those suspicions they have about a story — and the hundreds or thousands of documents that it likely involves. Continue reading