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The Business Of Health Journalism

There aren’t too many science journalists left these days, and that means that if you consider yourself a “health journalist” your job has changed a lot in the past few years.

Angilee Shah, community manager at ReportingOnHealth.org, delves into what that means with an interview with Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst with Poynter.

Foremost: pure science coverage is vanishing, being replaced with consumer health stories–self-help, fitness, and the like.

And second, yeah, most health journalism isn’t being produced by journalism institutions anymore.

“If you take it from the perspectives of hospitals or university departments, their sense is that they can’t count on a lot of coverage from newspapers. Local television, the networks and cable stations are cutting back. It’s a kind of do-it-yourself thing. They’re producing a lot of the news about health themselves. So that, I think, is a pretty good area of opportunity, though that may or may not be what a person who likes health journalism is aiming for,” Edmonds told Shah. “If you compare it [working in communications] to the traditional career path, the work is somewhat less valued when you show your clips to a mainstream [journalism] employer. But I don’t think it’s disqualifying. I go back long enough that we used to talk about anything in corporate communications as going over to the dark side, but I think that’s kind of shifted these days.”

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