Photo by Lukas via pexels.
I routinely use data in my articles, but I rarely do more than pull numbers from tables on federal websites. Sometimes I have to do a little math to figure out percentage changes. But I have never downloaded raw data into a spreadsheet to perform an analysis for a story or to comb through it for investigative story ideas. However, I would like to know how. And judging from emails I’ve received from AHCJ members, other freelancers would also like to learn some data journalism tools.
So, I turned to Cody Winchester, Investigative Reporters & Editor’s (IRE) director of technology and online resources. Winchester, who served previously as IRE’s senior training director, spoke with me about how freelancers can learn the basics of data journalism. (The following Q&A has been edited for brevity and clarity.)
In February, I wrote about the soon-to-be-created Awards, Grants & Fellowship tab in the Freelance Center and highlighted five opportunities with approaching deadlines. Since then, the tab has been created and populated with descriptions of 19 non-AHCJ awards, grants and fellowships. Please email me if you have suggestions to add to the list.
Most deadlines for the listed awards are sometime in the first four months of the year and so have passed, but several fellowship and grant deadlines are approaching. Here are five of them:
The Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship
These fellowships are open to U.S. citizens who are full-time print journalists, including freelancers. Recipients receive $40,000 for a full-year fellowship or $20,000 for a six-month fellowship. The goal of the program is to “provide support for journalists engaged in rigorous, probing, spirited, independent and skeptical work that will benefit the public.” Winners are expected to produce four print articles. The competition opened in June, and applications must be received by October 1, 2022. The online application must include a fellowship proposal, work samples, two references, a professional autobiography and a project budget.
Photo by Christina Morillo via pexels.
After a two-month hiatus from working on the market guides, I’m back to ensuring AHCJ’s existing pitching advice from various publications is current.
I have reviewed most of the market guides created or updated in 2021 to confirm editors quoted are still working at their respective publications. Where that is the case, those guides are now marked “Checked for accuracy July 13, 2022.”
Where editors have changed, in most cases, I have interviewed new editors and revised the guides. In total, three updated guides — for The BMJ, Next Avenue, and Spectrum — and one new guide for AARP have been posted on the AHCJ website this month.
There are now a total of 29 market guides, with more coming every month. Please email me with suggestions of publications you would like to see added.
New market guide
AARP pays freelancers $1 per word for articles between 800 and 1,400 words in length. Its health channel publishes “innovative and engaging content that can help Americans 50 and older make informed decisions on how to live the healthiest life possible,” according to its guidelines for writers. Editors ask that writers be careful to avoid language that stigmatizes age, including terms such as “seniors” and “the elderly.”
Photo by Paola RodriguezEditors attentively listen to freelancers pitch their ideas during PitchFest at Health Journalism 2022.
Hello freelancers! Many of you may be finalizing your pitches for the editors you met at PitchFest during Health Journalism 2022 in Austin and preparing to sign contracts. To help, I have added some new and revised market guides to the Freelance Center and provided a list of resources for negotiating contracts in case they contain clauses you don’t like.
And don’t forget to join our monthly Lunch & Learn discussion this Thursday. We will be discussing sourcing and reporting. Lunch & Learns provide an opportunity for member freelancers to chat about a designated topic over Zoom every third Thursday at 12 p.m. CST The Zoom link stays the same every month, and it can be found on the Networking tab at AHCJ’s Freelance Center.
New and revised market guides
Since last blogging about the market guides, I have added two new ones and one revised guide. Here are some quick summaries:
This digital publication pays $2 per word for feature articles that range in length from 800 to 3,000 words. Science & Technology Editor Lauren Morello said, “Our sweet spot is the collision of science and medicine and policy.” Features typically approach a story through multiple lenses such as science, economics, misinformation, the law, politics and technology.