We’re looking for a writer to cover rural health care and Medicaid for NC Health News. www.northcarolinahealthnews.org We are one of North Carolina’s growing group of non-profit, online-only publications, a member of the NC Press Association and recognized for our high-quality reporting (including winning NCPA prizes). Last year, our readership exploded during the pandemic, when it became evident our publication was the best place in the state to find news on COVID.

The 2016 presidential election highlighted the needs that are in rural communities and the fact that many of them are being left behind. This job is an opportunity to get out and explore our state, to delve into the issues affecting rural patients and to do stories that few others in the country are doing. This is also a transitional time in North Carolina as our Medicaid program switched to private managed care from being a state-run program on July 1, so you’ll be watching how that plays out across the state.

A license and a car are required. We’re looking for someone who’s willing to travel some of North Carolina’s backroads, has an ability to talk to anyone and has at least some experience (if you’re a graduate of a journalism program, that’s helpful), because you’ll need to hit the ground running. Knowledge of health care or science is a big plus. Knowledge of/ experience with multimedia or social media are also a double big-plus (send examples).

This is not a health reporting job where you write about “10 ways to control your diabetes,” rather one where you might track what the a community is doing to reduce the number of people who have diabetes there, where you might visit a county jail to report on how inmates are receiving health care services, or visit a local health clinic to report on a teen pregnancy prevention program. You’ll be talking to physicians, local health officials, sure, but you also should bet out and meet people who are being affected by the health care system. Those could be people who are struggling, could be those who are participating in an innovative new program. Sometimes, the story will be a profile, other times, it will be a higher level examination of what happens when a rural hospital closes, sometimes it’s a quick turnaround on a pertinent piece of research.

We’ll help you find those first stories, we have many contacts and some ideas of where you need to go. As time goes on, you’ll be expected to develop contacts and story ideas in the communities where you visit. We expect this reporter to publish 1-2 stories per week, 6-8 stories per month, with a range of short and long pieces.

We are looking for someone with journalism training. WE WILL ONLY CONSIDER YOUR APPLICATION IF YOU INCLUDE A RESUME AND THREE WRITING SAMPLES. Academic writing samples (e.g. studies or papers you wrote for class) are not acceptable. Samples need to be of published materials, stories that have a lede, arc and show an understanding of journalistic writing.

We’d be looking to employ you at a salary that’s competitive in North Carolina, the final number will depend on your experience and clips. This position includes health, dental and vision insurance and a modest retirement benefit.

The expectation is that you’ll spend about a quarter of your time per month on the road (give or take), reporting stories, getting out into communities, and talking to lots of people. Your travel expenses are covered. One of our former rural reporters (now a freelancer) developed a side beat in mental health… we’re open to you developing your interests!!

You could be located anywhere in North Carolina.

You’ll be part of a small but energized team of reporters and editors and you’ll get intensive mentoring/ editing of your work. Your work will be published in North Carolina Health News, and will often be carried by our North Carolina partner organizations: in 2020, more than 100 publications republished, digested or referenced our work (e.g. they wrote editorials based on our reporting).

Send a cover email of interest, along with a resume and links to 3 published stories to editor at northcarolinahealthnews dot org

We are looking to hire someone in August to start in September. This is a full-time, exempt position. Occasional nights and weekends may be required. Salary range is $32,000 – $42,000 depending on experience. Application deadline is July 31, 2021.

North Carolina Health News is committed to creating a diverse work environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, age, disability, parental status, veteran status, or any other protected status under applicable laws. We encourage individuals of all backgrounds to apply.