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Is blogging good for your career?

Is blogging good for your career?

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Blogging regularly can be very satisfying and give you a chance to connect directly with readers.  But is it good for your career? The New England Science Writers hosted a panel of science bloggers at the Harvard Faculty Club in January and MIT Tech TV is hosting a video of the event. The speakers will be familiar to the ReportingonHealth community and all have very interesting things to say about their blogging lives.

Photo by ComputerMonger

Carol Cruzan Morton, who organized the panel with health care blogger Alison Bass, wrote a thorough review of the event with the speakers' best tips for writing great blogs and building traffic. This week at Career GPS, we explore how blogging has affected the careers of these science writers. Find the week's latest health media job opportunites at the end of this post. Keep up with Career GPS via RSS.

Gary Schwitzer, publisher of HealthNewsReview, said that blogging has been a great research and promotional tool for his other projects. His blog gives him a chance to address the conflicts of interest in health news and educational programs that he recognized as a professional journalist. He worked at CNN in the late 80s and early 90s. Despite the huge audience, he did not have job satisfaction. The smaller audience of HealthNewsReview is more satisfying he said, because there is depth and interest in evidence-based stories. He was a full-time professor at the University of Minnesota but said that it was the blog that got him speaking requests and tips. The site has became his career in a way; it is now funded by the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making and he speaks and writes regularly on the topic of ethics in health journalism.

Dr. Daniel Carlat used to be a speaker for pharmaceutical companies. A psychiatrist himself, he started The Carlat Psychiatry Blog in 2007. It was a way for him to make inroads as a writer and he now blogs twice a week. He has also  written a book called Unhinged: The Trouble with Psychiatry - A Doctor's Revelations about a Profession in Crisis. "I'm on the way up in the journalism world," Carlat said. "It's all just a function of having put my name out there and having taken risks."

Former Wall Street Journal health and medicine reporter Rachel Zimmerman co-curates CommonHealth at WBUR with former New York Times reporter Carey Goldberg. The move had career trade-offs. "I was a reporter at the Wall Street Journal traveling all over the world. Now I'm a blogger on a website at a Boston public radio station," Zimmerman said. "But I get to do it while I'm waiting for my kids." Zimmerman and Goldberg started the blog in August -- "It's been sort of a phenonmenal shift from the Journal," said Zimmerman. "At the Journal, it was the Journal's voice. When I first started blogging, I thought it was so liberating to speak." One drawback, Zimmerman said, is that it is hard to balance longer-form journalism with the quick hit and list-based posts.

Dr. Ivan Oransky is the executive editor of Reuters Health, and also writes two blogs: Embargo Watch and Retraction Watch. "The thing I miss on a daily basis now that I'm a manager is being a beat reporter," Oransky said. His two blogs fill that need to follow stories through. "I treat my blogs as beat reporting." "I don't know I'm on my way up, down or sideways," Oransky said. "I just know I love doing it."




Are you a blogger? How has you blog affected your career? Share in comments.

Photo on Flickr Creative Commons by ComputerMonger

Health Media Opportunities

New Job and Internship Listings

Web Content Health Reporter, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network (via Mediabistro, free registration required)
Location: New York, NY
Status: Full Time
Medium: Online

Writer and Editor, Arthritis Foundation, Northern CA Chapter (via J-Jobs)
Location: San Francisco, CA
Status: Temporary, June 1 - September 1
Medium: Magazine

Editorial Assistant, Prevention (via Ed2010)
Location: New York, NY
Status: Full Time
Medium: Magazine

Writer/Editor, Health Net (via Simply Hired)
Location: Rancho Cordova, CA
Status: Full Time
Medium: Trade

Editor, Cardiovascular Business, TriMed Media Group, Inc. (via JournalismJobs)
Location: Providence, RI
Status: Full Time
Medium: Trade, Online Editorial Intern, Health Monitor Network (via JournalismJobs)
Location: Paramus, NJ
Status: Internship
Medium: Online

Assistant Editor, Huffington Post's HEALTH Section (via Mediabistro, free registration required)
Location: New York, NY
Status: Full Time
Medium: Magazine

Fellowships and Grants

Rosalynn Carter Fellowships For Mental Health Journalism
Eligibility: Open to journalists with at least three years of experience and citizenship from United States, Romania or South Africa
Included: $10,000 stipends to report on mental health issues, mentorship to complete reporting project
Deadline: Apr. 18, 2011
From the Website: "Fellowships are tailored to suit the needs, interests, and experiences of each fellow. They also generate knowledge and information to benefit the mental health field and the public. When appropriate, the program requests that fellows conduct one training session related to mental health and journalism for their peers during the fellowship year."

National Health Journalism Fellowship, USC Annenberg California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships
Eligibility: Open to professional journalists from print, broadcast, and online media, including freelancers. Applicants need not be full time health reporters, but they need to have a passion for health news (broadly defined).
Included: All-expenses paid six-day program in Los Angeles, $200 stipend and upon completion of what are expected to be ambitious, major fellowship projects.
Deadline: May 2, 2011
From the Website: "To stimulate collaboration between mainstream and ethnic media, we encourage applicants to propose a joint project for use by both media outlets. Up to two collaborators for each project may receive a stipend."

Dennis A. Hunt Health Journalism Grants, USC Annenberg California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships
Eligibility: Open to all journalist members of Center for Health Journalism Digital. Print, broadcast and new media journalists from anywhere in the United States are eligible to apply, as are all past fellows of the USC Annenberg/California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships.
Included: Provides funding for proposed stories or multimedia projects that illuminate or expose critical community health or community health policy issues and acceptance to the National Health Journalism Fellowship program.
Deadline: May 2, 2011
From the Website: "Proposals can focus on a specific health topic or delve into a confluence of circumstances and conditions that impact health, including environment; social class; crime and violence; urban development; access to health resources or the lack thereof; school absenteeism; transportation or city planning, and and disparities in health. Topics that would NOT be eligible would include clinical trials, medical research, or the latest treatments for a disease or any project involving a population outside of the United States."

Australian-American Health Policy Fellowship, The Commonwealth Fund
Eligibility: Mid-career health services researchers or practitioners who are U.S. citizens and have completed a master's degree or doctorate (or the equivalent thereof) in health services research, health administration, health policy, or a related discipline. Applicants should demonstrate expertise in health policy issues and track record of informing health policy through research, policy analysis, health services, or clinical leadership.
Deadline: August 15, 2011
From the Website: "This program offers a unique opportunity for outstanding, mid-career U.S. professionals-academics, government officials, clinical leaders, decision makers in managed care and other private health care organizations, and journalists-to spend up to 10 months in Australia conducting research and working with Australian health policy experts on issues relevant to both countries."

California Health Journalism Fellowship, USC Annenberg California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowships
Eligibility: Open to professional journalists from print, broadcast, and online media in California, including freelancers. Applicants need not be full time health reporters, but they need to have a passion for health news (broadly defined).
Included: All-expenses paid seminars in Los Angeles, mentoring for completion of reporting project
Deadline: Aug. 26, 2011
From the Website: "During the Fellowship sessions, Fellows get plenty of time to discuss with experts, and with each other, strategies for covering health news with authority and sophistication. Between the two sessions and for three months after the second session, Fellows confer by phone and e-mail with veteran journalists who guide them through work on major Fellowship projects."

Educational Opportunities

Brain Science: The Kavli Science Journalism Workshop
Eligibility: Reporters, writers, editors or producers with three years of full-time journalism experience
Program: Program runs Wednesday, June 15 through Friday, June 17. Accommodation, most meals and $750 travel reimbursement are provided.
Deadline: April 15, 2011
From the Website: "The Knight Science Journalism program at MIT is offering a three-day intensive course on the basics of the new brain sciences. The workshop will bring some of the top neuroscientists in the U.S. to explain their work and to become first-rate sources for the attending journalists. "

Rural Health Journalism Workshop 2011, Association of Health Care Journalists
Eligibility: AHCJ members (apply via website)
Program: The workshop will take place June 3, 2011 and includes breakfast and lunch.
From the Website:"Even if your newsroom is in a bustling city, there are untold rural health stories down the road. So join us in St. Louis for this special one-day, no-fee workshop to help you find and cover health stories in rural America."

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