Most community newspapers stick to the traditional beats of education, crime and government. When I started as a reporter at the Weekend Pinnacle newspaper in San Benito County, I created a niche for myself as a health reporter. If the editor suggested a feature on kids with autism or a piece on breast cancer survivors, I was often the first person to volunteer for the assignment. It wasn’t an official beat, but it’s one of cultivated through the years.
I like the background research that comes with reporting on medical or health-related topics, from looking up incidence statistics on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to checking county public health rankings. I have a knack for finding personal stories to illustrate the numbers and for getting families to open up to me about the day-to-day struggles.
Here are few examples of my health reporting.