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Come work with us. We’re looking for a health news geek

The Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism is expanding even more.

We have a vacancy for a health news reporter. 

Bhekisisa is an independent, donor-funded newsroom that specialises in solutions journalism aimed at a niche, decision-making audience of policymakers, activists, academics and scientists in the fields of health and social justice in South Africa. We don’t only tell our audience about problems — we also critically evaluate what’s being done to fix them.

We bring science and policy together in a way that’s accurate, but edgy and easy to understand.

Over the past 10 years, Bhekisisa has won more than 50 journalism awards for its reporting and our stories have strongly contributed towards policy change and the improvement of ordinary people’s lives.  

The issues we report on are often born in policy discussions. That’s where you come in. 

We need a health news reporter to help us keep up to date with what policymakers and researchers are talking about so that our team can continue to produce impactful features and analysis that help readers understand these issues better and so be part of driving real change.

Our stories are regularly picked up not only by local outlets such as Mail & Guardian, the Daily Maverick, News24 and Financial Mail, but also by international publications and public health agencies, such as Spain’s El País and Johns Hopkins’ Global Health NOW and scientific journals such as The Lancet.

Health news reporter

The Centre is seeking to employ a health journalist who will be responsible for producing a steady stream of short, impactful health policy news pieces. The position is based at our Johannesburg office.

You can be part of the first generation of Bhekisisa news reporters, who will bring our evidence-based approach to shorter pieces. 

We’re a team 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 nine-to-five 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 new skills to tell health stories differently, then you might be suited to our latest vacancy. 

Preference will be given to Black women when filling this position.

Expected duties

1. Consistently produce health policy news and analysis and keep up with health-related issues in parliament, courts and on the ground. 

2. Develop a network of contacts in the health policy sphere to help keep you informed.  

3. Show a demonstrated interest in health policy news, reading independently to ensure that you’re up to date with local and international conversations and breaking public health research. 

4. Proactively pitching well-researched health news stories.  

5. 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.

6. 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 and branding strategies based on your interests and work.

7. Assist co-workers with social media scheduling, event organising or other duties as required. 

Expected qualifications

1. At least two to three years’ experience reporting on health in a newsroom, together with a degree in journalism or a related field; a postgraduate qualification will be an added advantage. 

2. A demonstrated track record of regularly producing news stories and news analysis.

3. Fluency in written and spoken English; ability to speak an additional official language will be highly advantageous. 

4. Familiarity with social media channels, especially Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 

5. A passion for social justice issues; some demonstrated interest in health reporting is welcomed.

6. Ability to work well as part of a team on a variety of tasks.

7. Familiarity with content management systems, especially WordPress, is an advantage. Willingness to be edited and fact checked. We see this process as a way to help you grow, but  this type of intense editing isn’t for everyone. 

8. Strong time management skills to ensure deadlines are met, as well as the ability to work on more than one story at the same time, are a must. 

9. Legal permission to work in South Africa. 

10. All shortlisted candidates will be expected to complete a skills test before proceeding to the interview stage. 

To apply, please send the following materials to Bhekisisa’s programme manager, Rosaline Daniel ([email protected]) with the subject line “Application for Health News Journalist”.

1. Updated CV with three contactable references; at least one should be familiar with your raw copy.

2. Five writing samples, ideally these samples, or some of them, should show a range of health news stories.

3. A cover letter detailing why you would like to work at Bhekisisa. In this letter, you need to demonstrate whether you understand our brand of reporting and why you’d like to participate in evidence-based solutions reporting. 

Cover letters of successful candidates will demonstrate an understanding of Bhekisisa’s unique brand of solutions-based journalism. Only short-listed candidates will be contacted. 

Application deadline: 10pm, 6 March 2023.