Career Development: Job Postings

Job type: Freelance Position
Position: Environmental Health Core Topic Leader
Organization: Association of Health Care Journalists
Date posted: 09/07/22

The Association of Health Care Journalists is seeking a reporter with a strong interest in environmental health to join our team of core topic leaders. Our core topic leaders focus on helping AHCJ’s members do better journalism and share resources, tips, and terms that deepen our members’ understanding of timely and important subjects. The environmental health core topic leader will guide our members’ reporting on how climate change, lack of access to clean air and water, energy and agricultural issues and other environmental challenges, are negatively impacting the physical and mental health of many Americans. In this role, the writer would also help members report on how these environmental health challenges are disproportionately affecting people in low-income communities who already have health care vulnerabilities. This topic closely intersects with health equity, patient safety and mental health.

This year-to-year commitment includes writing for Covering Health, summarizing key issues, organizing and moderating webcasts with experts, asking other journalists to write about their work, contributing tip sheets, and identifying good story examples and important events related to the subject. The writer will work with AHCJ's managing editor, director of content and education and director of engagement to encourage reader interaction through social media and should be willing to organize and moderate panels and share expertise at AHCJ events. The core topic leader also would be expected to coordinate with AHCJ’s other core topic leaders about coverage and collaboration as part of the organization’s “newsroom.”

The ideal applicant is a well-connected freelancer with experience in writing about health with a strong interest in and/or experience writing about environmental health and is comfortable editing and assigning work to other journalists. Additional multimedia experience is a plus.

This freelance opportunity will pay up to $15,600 a year.

Position details

AHCJ believes there is a core set of topics that today’s health journalists need to understand to cover the beat well and has launched several core topic areas toward that effort, including this topic — environmental health. These "learning centers" provide expertise in areas essential to reporting on health or health care.

Each specialty topic page includes glossaries, key concepts, reporting tip sheets, first-person stories by fellow journalists, videos, data and more. The topic home page serves as a launch pad to more resources on and elsewhere.

The environmental health core topic focuses on the complex and wide-ranging set of factors in the environment that affect physical and mental health, including exposure to air and chemical pollution, climate change and natural disasters, poor water quality, etc.

The topic leader will:

  • Write a collection of concise background briefs on key concepts related to the topic.

  • Contribute at least two posts per month to Covering Health. Posts will highlight news in the topic, good journalistic work being done on it, resources or other tools that may help reporters advance their coverage.

  • Define key terms and concepts related to environmental health to assist reporters working on deadline.

  • Find and write descriptions of related events, workshops, conferences, briefings, etc., to add to AHCJ's web calendar.

  • Organize and moderate quarterly webcasts with experts and journalists to educate reporters on emerging issues.

  • Review suggestions from members and determine which to add to our resources and serve as a mentor or expert with whom other reporters can consult, when possible.

  • Assign first-person stories and tip sheets to be written by other journalists ("how I covered this aspect of a story") designed to help reporters work on similar or related stories.

  • Pinpoint or obtain related datasets that will allow reporters to deepen their stories and write summaries of them, suggesting best uses and possible stories.

  • Assist in setting up panels and finding speakers for AHCJ training events.

The topic leaders are expected to submit a combination of these resources monthly.

To apply

Please look at our core topic content and think about what kinds of content you would contribute to the topic of environmental health. Outline your suggestions and ideas in a cover letter, tell us about your applicable experience and attach a résumé with story links and send to by Oct. 7 with “environmental health core topic leader” in the subject line. Applications can be addressed to the "Topic Leader Review Committee." Questions about the position can be sent to the same email address.