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
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