13 posts about careers in journalism

This might have been a better post last week, when I had a nice dozen posts for my new blog at ReportingonHealth, but it’s still a good time to take stock.

Every week since June, I have been writing about career issues that health journalists — and many other types of journalists — face in Career GPS. It’s a bit of a narcissistic task, in a way, because I answer questions that I am interested in for my own career. But in meeting the community on ReportingonHealth, I’ve learned that a lot of journalists have these types of questions too. From getting health insurance to becoming a better writer, here’s a quick sum up of the 14 posts I’ve written so far.

If you like this sort of thing and want to keep up with Career GPS, you can follow the blog’s RSS feed. If you are interested in health journalism, you can follow the site’s full RSS feed or subscribe to the weekly newsletter.

Cover Your Assets
Amy Wallace recently wrote about the minefield surrounding her reporting on vaccines for ReportingonHealth. Two months after her November 2009 Wired cover story “An Epidemic of Fear: One Man’s Battle Against the Anti-vaccine Movement” was published, she was sued. Though the lawsuit was dismissed, Wallace’s experience is food for thought for any journalist covering health. So this week at Career GPS, I’m looking for answers to the question that has made its way around the Internet since Wallace’s essay ran: How can journalists protect themselves and their assets from lawsuits?

Back to Basics: Lifelong Writing
A student asked me recently, how do I make a career as a writer? I thought about her question for some time — I thought about telling her to network and blog and make herself visible online — but really, the most important and never-ending task is to become a really great writer.

Tips for Freelancers from AAJA and Beyond
The annual convention of the Asian American Journalists Association early in August was filled from top to bottom with practical and career-oriented sessions. For me, one of the most useful was off the official books. By Twitter and email, AAJA Texas chapter president Iris Kuo organized a lunchtime get-together for freelancers in the hotel lobby.

Don’t Jump off the Plane: Strategies for Dealing with Stressful Work Environments
The news of the news isn’t great. Under the circumstances, it’s surprising more journalists aren’t just jumping off the plane via the emergency exit chute.

So you want to write a book?
You know you want take the long journey of writing a book, but how do you take the first step? Here are some top tips for getting published from three health writers who have been there.

Harnessing the Power of Images — and Getting Paid
Think about the news in the last month. What sticks out? What connected with you? It’s much more likely that the dramatic image of a young girl in Afghanistan on the Aug. 9 cover of Time magazine is rising to the top than any text-heavy feature you marveled at this month. The power of images is clear — they provoke, they tell stories, they resonate.

How I Got Here: The Genesis of Careers in Health Media
Last week, Ed Yong over at the Discover blog Not Exactly Rocket Science wrote a brilliant post. It’s a lovely example of the power of crowd-sourcing. At last look, 124 people have commented to explain how they became science writers.

The Nonprofiteers
Sheri Fink won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting this year for her compelling narrative about life-and-death choices made by health care providers in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. While the story ran in The New York Times Magazine, she did her reporting while enmeshed in the nonprofit journalism world, as a Kaiser Media Fellow and later as a reporter at the nonprofit newsroom ProPublica.

Churning out Content, or Ways to Make a Buck
One of the central ironies for beleaguered journalism job hunters today is that the demand for content is huge. If you are among those who regularly scour journalism job sites, you might have noticed that some of the most common listings are calls for writers to produce short articles at low piecemeal rates.

Building a Career in a Recession
Joanna Lin graduated from USC in 2008, just before the U.S. economy began to nosedive. Since then, she has worked for five different media outlets, grew a professional journalism career in a time of upheaval, and developed a philosophy and fortitude about doing the work she loves.

A Health Reporter’s Struggle to Get Health Insurance
After a 30-year career writing about health, Susan Brinks found herself in the throes of her own medical story. She has been a freelancer since being laid off from the Los Angeles Times in October 2008, and her COBRA — the post-employment extension of her health insurance — runs out on July 20.

From Journalism to Medicine and Back Again
Tom Linden seemed to be on a fast track to a successful career in journalism. . When he graduated from Yale in 1970, he won a fellowship and secured a book deal to write about army deserters in exile who were protesting or escaping the Vietnam War. After one year of research, though, he had completed magazine and journal articles but never wrote the book.

Applying for Fellowships: Tips and Links from the Future of Freelancing Conference
The inaugural post of Career GPS was written from the halls of the Future of Freelancing conference at Stanford University in June.

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