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Career Development: Job Postings

Job type: Freelance Position
Position: Patient Safety Core Topic Leader
Organization: Association of Health Care Journalists
Date posted: 09/14/23

The Association of Health Care Journalists is seeking a reporter with a strong interest in patient safety to join our team of core topic leaders. Our core topic leaders write blog posts focused on helping AHCJ’s members do better journalism and share resources, tips, and terms that deepen their understanding of timely and important subjects.

The patient safety core topic leader will guide members to websites and other data sources that address the quality of medical care provided by hospitals, doctors and nurses. In this role, the writer would also help members learn how to monitor the work of organizations that people count on to protect them from harm in the medical system.

This year-to-year commitment includes writing blog posts for AHCJ’s blog, 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 coverage and collaborate with AHCJ’s other core topic leaders 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 patient safety and the organizations that play a role in ensuring it 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 — patient safety. These "learning centers" provide expertise in areas essential to reporting on health or health care.

Each specialty topic page includes a glossary of key terms, reporting tip sheets, blog items, 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 patient safety core topic focuses on how the structure of the U.S. medical system, which tilts toward à la carte payments, increases the chances for harm. It also covers the impact of legislation on patient safety, medical errors and lack of hospital transparency, among other topics.

The topic leader will:

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

  • Contribute at least two blog posts per month to Covering Health. Posts will highlight news on 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 patient safety 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.

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 patient safety. Outline your suggestions and ideas in a cover letter, tell us about your applicable experience and attach a résumé with story links and send it to by Oct. 7 with “patient safety 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.