How Do You Become a Healthcare Journalist?

Becoming a healthcare journalist gives you the chance to work in a niche field that may lead to more job stability. With newspapers across the country shutting down and magazines closing their doors, there are journalists struggling to find jobs. Those who experience the most success are those who have a strong niche and experience in a specific industry or field. Healthcare writers may work for nonprofit organizations, blogs, magazines and even major publications to write stories that the general public needs to know, and many of these writers start at the same place.

Choose a Double Major

Jenna Goudreau of Forbes recommends that aspiring writers attend college and major in journalism but that the select a double major. Goudreau points out that this gives you the ability to identify trends in specific areas and gives you a leg up on the competition. If you want to write about healthcare, you might select a second major in nursing, applied health or a similar field. While it might take you an extra semester or more to finish your degrees, you’ll have more knowledge of healthcare topics than other up and coming reporters do.

Do Multiple Internships

College gives you the chance to gain experience outside of your classes. Doing at least one internship is the best way to gain that experience. As a journalism major, you might intern at a local newspaper, for an industry organization or even for an online blog company. Though you might focus more on journalism internships, consider doing at least one internship in the healthcare field too. This will give you more familiarity with the terminology that doctors and nurses use, help you understand what patients want to know and stay up to date on healthcare news.

Get Writing Experience

Before you can become a healthcare journalist, you must have some writing experience under your belt. When you graduate from college, you’ll face competition from journalists who have years or even decades of writing experience. Working for the college newspaper is a great way to hone your skills, and you’ll get clips that you can use in your writing portfolio too. College is also a great time to launch your own blog, especially if you don’t get the chance to write healthcare articles for the paper. Use that blog to show that you have knowledge of medical diseases and conditions, current healthcare news and even treatment options.

Gain Practical Experience

The more experience that you have in the healthcare industry, the more trustworthy you will come across to your readers. Dr. Oz is one of the leading experts on television, and he has decades of experience as a board certified doctor. While you do not need to go to medical school, you will need some type of medical experience. Some reporters worked as licensed or registered nurses for years before becoming journalists. Something as simple as doing volunteer work for a local hospital or working as part of a disaster relief operation can show that you are an expert.

The journalism industry shifted from traditional newspapers and magazines to blogs and television reporting in modern years. If you want to become a healthcare journalist, you need to show that you have healthcare knowledge and writing experience, which you can obtain in college, while working or when doing internships.

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