Hitting the headlines: journalism for medical students
Potentially, any medical student could set up as a freelance journalist. Do you just write something and send it in? Peter Cross says no, and gives advice on how to do it
- By: Peter Cross
Medical students have access to most of the tools needed to set themselves up as a freelance journalist: a computer, an email address, use of a telephone, a serviceable dictionary, and A4 writing pads. They usually have intangible qualities and expertise: keyboard skills, a reasonable standard of written English, and experience of clerking patients and research methods. All these things help produce readable prose. The use of a small tape recorder for interviewing purposes is a useful addition.
Large bookshops have a selection of “How to” books for wannabe journalists. They usually cover the same ground and vary in quality, but one or two paperbacks are a worthwhile investment. Typically, you will be advised to work your way up the journalistic food chain: getting a letter printed in your local paper, writing a piece for a parish magazine, gradually building up a body of published pieces. It's worth writing for