Category Archives: Freelancing

AHCJ announces winners of 2020 health journalism contest

About Andrew Smiley

Andrew Smiley is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He is an assistant professor of professional practice at the Missouri School of Journalism. Smiley comes to AHCJ from a sports broadcasting background, including nearly a decade at the Golf Channel/NBC Sports and a decade at ESPN, where he won an Emmy.

Awards for Excellence in Health Care JournalismCOLUMBIA, Mo. – Coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic dominated the Association of Health Care Journalists’ 2020 journalism contest, reflecting how well the profession explained the new coronavirus and how officials responded to it.

Seven of the 12 first-place winners focused on aspects of the pandemic. The contest drew 451 total entries, with strong interest in all divisions.

Lisa Krieger, science and research reporter for the Mercury News in San Jose, won first place in the beat reporting category for a set of compelling pieces about the crisis, including how the virus infects people, why there were so few treatments and why scientists believed vaccines could be successful.

“Lisa Krieger recognized this story earlier than most and explained it clearly, drawing real patients into almost every piece,” the contest judges wrote.

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Legislation update: The PRO Act passes the House and is now in the Senate

About Jeanne Erdmann and Kendall Powell

Jeanne Erdmann (@jeanne_erdmann) is a member of AHCJ's board of directors and is chair of the freelance committee. Freelance science writer Kendall Powell (@KendallSciWrite) covers the realm of biology, from molecules to maternity.

Congress

Photo: Bodo Tasche via Flickr

Recently, the House passed the PRO Act (H.R. 842 Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2021). This legislation is described as a bill that protects workers’ right to organize, but there’s an issue of particular concern to freelancers — and editors and publishers who hire them.

The bill is now with the U.S. Senate. Freelancers in many areas including independent screenwriters, photographers, songwriters, models, accountants, and financial advisers are most concerned because the legislation uses California’s ABC Test to decide who is an employee and who is an independent contractor.

Under the, ABC Test, a worker is considered an employee and not an independent contractor, unless the hiring entity satisfies all three of the following conditions: Continue reading

Year in review: What journalists have been reading

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.

ListIt is perhaps little surprise that the most-read blog posts on Covering Health this year were almost exclusively about the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic.

Since we first reported about the “mysterious pneumonia outbreak in China” on Jan. 10 and followed up with a post urging “Use caution when reporting on pandemic potential of Wuhan coronavirus” on Jan. 23, the topic has been top-of-mind for health journalists.

Here is a list of the top-10 blog posts, plus a bonus: Continue reading

Get ready to take part in AHCJ’s first Virtual Freelance PitchFest

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.

Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJEditors met with more than 60 freelance journalists seeking assignments at the Freelance PitchFest at Health Journalism 2016.

AHCJ’s annual Freelance PitchFest is going virtual for 2020.

With our annual conference having been postponed, AHCJ has searched for a way to replicate the opportunity for independent journalists to connect with editors and pitch stories to them.

We are happy to announce that editors from some of the top magazines and newspapers have agreed to go virtual to meet you for the AHCJ Virtual PitchFest. This session has been created to give you an opportunity to pitch your ideas one-on-one with editors from selected publications. Continue reading

Two more medical organizations recognize AHCJ membership as credential

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.

People at meeting

Photo: Luis Quintero via Pexels

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. Continue reading

Journalist offers advice on breaking news in the time of COVID-19

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.

Photo: ChiralJon via FlickrRendering of hydroxychloroquine molecular structure.

The National Institutes of Health last month halted a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine for use in treating COVID-19 patients. The NIH ended the trial because the antimalarial drug, while safe, was proven to have no benefit to hospitalized patients.

The decision came just three months after President Trump declared the drug a “game-changer” and arranged for the U.S. to purchase 29 million doses to be “immediately available” to the public for treating the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. Continue reading