The Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism specialises in solutions-based health and social justice journalism aimed at policymakers here and abroad. What does that mean? It means we don’t only tell our readers about problems — we also critically evaluate what’s being done to fix them. Our narrative storytelling pairs the latest science with the stories of real people to help readers understand issues better and be a part of real change.
The centre has a solid track record in producing impactful, award-winning reporting both locally and internationally. Bhekisisa reporters have gone on to become health editors at leading publications and their work has appeared in international publications such as the UK Guardian.
The centre syndicates copy to major South African outlets such as the Mail & Guardian, the Daily Maverick and News24. We’re a small, donor-funded newsroom that doesn’t shy away from hard work that pushes us outside our comfort zones and allows us to grow and learn together.
If you’re looking for a 9 to 5 job where you only focus on your own stories, this isn’t for you. . But if you’re willing to put in some extra hours and learn some news skills to help tell health stories differently, then you might be right for our latest vacancy.
The centre is currently seeking to employ a health journalist who will be responsible for producing regular narrative features and policy analysis. If you’re a seasoned newshound, you’ll relish the chance to spend weeks getting stuck into a story with a travel budget to boot.
The position is based at our Johannesburg office and includes opportunities for future growth in line with the candidate’s interest and performance track record. (If you dream it, we’ll try our darndest to make it happen).
Interested but don’t have a background in health? Don’t worry, you can learn it if you’re passionate, hard-working and self-motivated.
- Produce two narrative features and one analysis piece per month
- Show a demonstrated interest in your beat, reading independently to ensure that you’re up to date with the latest research developments as well as local and international conversations
- Proactively pitching well-researched story ideas for narrative features, travelling to provinces when necessary and sometimes on late notice
- Take your stories from conception to birth and beyond, actively thinking about how to translate key messages into social media content or other products as diverse as panels to plays
- Meaningfully contribute to developing Bhekisisa’s strategies in terms of content creation across platforms and media as well as sustainability initiatives such as training or related projects. This will include helping the centre develop new products based on your interests and work
- Assist coworkers, if needed, in terms of social media scheduling, event organising or other duties as prescribed
- Other duties as required
- At least two to three years’ reporting experience in a newsroom; a degree in journalism or a related field is desirable
- A deep desire to grow your writing and engage with scientific research even if you haven’t done it before. (There’s a first time for everything)
- A demonstrated track record regularly producing news stories; experience in feature writing will be an asset
- Fluency in written and spoken English; ability to speak an additional official language will be highly advantageous
- Willingness to travel internationally and locally, sometimes at short notice
- Familiarity with social media channels, especially Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
- A passion for social justice issues; some demonstrated interest in health reporting is welcomed
- Ability to work independently and manage your time to ensure deadlines are met
- Ability to work well as part of a team on a variety of tasks if needed
- Familiarity with content management systems, especially WordPress, is an advantage as is demonstrated multimedia skills
- Willingness to be edited and fact checked. Bhekisisa’s narrative features go through an average of two edits – one for the science, the other for the story line. We’ll always work with you on these but we know this type of intense editing isn’t for everyone
- Strong time management skills and the ability to work on two stories at the same time are a must
To apply, please send the following materials to Bhekisisa Deputy Editor Laura Lopez Gonzalez firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Application for Health Reporter”. We regret that due to capacity issues, only short-listed candidates will be contacted. Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Deadline: 2 October 2019
- Updated CV with three contactable references, at least one should be familiar with your raw copy
- Five writing samples, ideally these samples should show some range in writing e.g. news, analysis and features
- A 1-2 page cover letter detailing why you would like to work at Bhekisisa specifically. Cover letters of successful candidates will demonstrate an understanding of Bhekisisa’s unique brand of solutions-based, narrative journalism and analysis. Generic cover letters will not be considered