Tag Archives: social media

What AHCJ’s conferences, social media and a dog’s blog have to do with building a freelance business

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform. He welcomes questions and suggestions and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Joseph BurnsRoscoe

Photo: Joseph BurnsRoscoe, the key to a recent freelance assignment.

My dog helped me land a freelance assignment recently. Actually, my dog’s blogs (he has two) helped me get the gig. To be honest, my 5-year-old Labrador retriever, Roscoe, wouldn’t even have a blog if it weren’t for what I’ve learned at AHCJ’s Health Journalism conferences the past three years.

So, if you’re wondering if attending Health Journalism 2015 in California later this month will be worth your time and effort, read on.

After attending AHCJ’s Health Journalism 2012 conference in Atlanta, I landed enough assignments to cover my costs for that conference and every one since. I did the math for this blog post.

Recently, I discovered that what I learned in Atlanta (and in Boston in 2013 and in Denver in 2014) continues to pay dividends. Continue reading

Using Twitter, LinkedIn to diversify your sources #ahcj13

About Shuka Kalantari

Shuka Kalantari is a health outreach coordinator at KQED-San Francisco. She is attending Health Journalism 2013 on an AHCJ-California Health Journalism Fellowship, which is supported by The California HealthCare Foundation.

At KQED Public Radio’s The California Report in San Francisco, part of my job is to connect with communities across California and find diverse voices talking about community health issues for our airwaves. While on-the-ground outreach is the ideal way to build relationships with sources, it’s impossible for one person to embed herself in all of California’s 58 counties. 

That’s where social media comes in. Tools like Twitter, LinkedIn and social media networks has helped me find a wide range of voices, as well as follow conversations in my health beat. At Health Journalism 2013, I did a presentation with Dori J. Maynard, the President of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education in Oakland, Calif., (follow her at @TeamMije and @djmaynard) on how to navigate Twitter and LinkedIn to find sources. We started with Twitter.

Reporters should follow individuals and organizations that serve diverse populations (need some Twitter 101? Check AHCJ’s tip sheets here and here, Twitter’s Help Center, Mediabistro, and Mashabable’s video tutorial). Follow ethnic media in your coverage area. Also, think outside traditional “health” box. Don’t just follow health organizations and media – think about arts groups, youth groups or theater groups in the regions you are covering. For example, I follow Cornerstone Theater Company, a community theater group in downtown Los Angeles. The staff has since connected me with various community members who have been affected by community health issues on everything from trying to get access to health care as a homeless person in Skid Row, to preventing gun violence in South LA.

But if you’re following hundreds (or even thousands) of people on Twitter, it can be hard to keep up  with the conversations. That’s where creating Twitter “streams” can be useful.  Continue reading

Getting a handle on social media #ahcj13

About Cindy Uken

Cindy Uken is a health care reporter at the Billings (Mont.) Gazette. She is attending Health Journalism 2013 on an AHCJ-Rural Health Journalism Fellowship, which is supported by the Leona M. & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

Photo by Pia Christensen

Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms can be useful — or time-killers.

Social media should be both interesting and useful or helpful.

These are the messages two social media producers delivered to journalists on Thursday at Health Journalism 2013, AHCJ’s 15th annual conference.

“Sometimes when people get started, it’s one or other,” said Adrienne Lavidor-Berman, social media producer for Boston.com and BostonGlobe.com.

Lavidor-Berman and Elizabeth Comeau, health and wellness producer for BostonGlobe.com, spent an hour with journalists helping them find ways to make Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms helpful and not simply a drain.

Some key takeaways:

  • Treat Twitter as its own beat.
  • Take time to follow the right people and respond to them.
  • If tweeting someone’s article, mention them by name in the Tweet to help them build a following.
  • Market your content to the people you know will find it most useful.
  • Twitter is very journalist friendly.
  • If you can’t find someone’s Twitter profile, search for them through Google.
  • Think before you tweet.
  • Follow AP, Reuters and the reporters who work for those organizations.

Continue reading

Chicago chapter learns about social media for working journalists

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.

There was a little LOL, but also plenty of cyber meat for the nearly 20 journalists, academics and students attending the AHCJ Chicago Chapter’s autumn event on social media at Columbia College on Sept. 19. Former AHCJ President Duncan Moore organized and moderated the panel discussion about the intersection of journalism and social media.

The Chicago Reader’s “Tweeter In Chief” Asher Klein (@Chicago_Reader) told how the weekly uses social media, in particular Twitter, to promote stories and engage and attract readers. Continue reading

Journalists learn more about using social media tools

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.

By Shuka Kalantari (@skalantari; @KQEDhealth)
KQED Public Radio

Though blogging and social media have been around for some time now, some people still argue that blogging, social media and journalism should be independent of one another. Scott Hensley of NPR’s Shots blog contends that couldn’t be further from the truth.

During a panel about “Best practices in blogging and social media” at Health Journalism 2011, Hensley said bloggers and journalists are perfect matches for each other. So how does a blogger decide what to write about?

The #ahcj11 Twitter stream helped attendees share information at Health Journalism 2011.

The #ahcj11 Twitter stream helped attendees share information at Health Journalism 2011.

“I want to write the most interesting stuff online,” Hensley said. “The stuff that is burning to be done right now, then see where it goes.”

He advised journalists to check their Twitter feed in the morning as it might give you story ideas.

“Twitter and Facebook can be a booster rocket to make a post go viral.” He added that it doesn’t always work but, if the post is interesting, it’s worth a shot. Hensley says that in addition to checking news sites, he always checks his personal Twitter feed – @scotthensley – as well as the NPR’s Twitter feed – @NPRhealth – to see what’s going on in the Twittersphere.

Ivan Oransky, treasurer of AHCJ’s board of directors, is the executive editor of Reuters Health and blogger for Retraction Watch and Embargo Watch. He joined the blogosphere in 2006 for The Scientist. Oransky says that search engine optimization (SEO) is key for any blogger. If you have a subject you are covering, be sure to use key words that will attract people.

“SEO, to me, means using key words where people that were interested in that subject would want to read about,” Oransky said.

Continue reading