Over the past three years we have been supporting new writers to develop their scientific journalism skills. We would like to hear from others who would be interested in joining us.
We’re inviting new applications to our Emerging Voices programme. It aims to give new writers opportunities to develop their skills in a professional and supportive environment. Successful candidates will have the opportunity to write, update and edit information and articles on aidsmap, including news articles, email bulletins and factsheets. We offer support and coaching, and pay for published work.
This will help us increase the size and diversity of NAM’s editorial team, so as to better reflect the global epidemic. We are keen to hear from Black, ethnic minority, trans and young people, and people with a history of injecting drug use or sex work – all groups which are currently under-represented in scientific writing. As we do a lot of our work online, we accept applications from people in all parts of the world.
I asked some of our current and former Emerging Voices what they had got out of the programme. “As a person living with HIV, I am acutely aware of the importance of trustworthy information in fighting stigma and achieving optimal health,” Mariah Wilberg told me. “Through the programme, I received one-on-one mentoring and feedback as I revised and created content about topics I am passionate about. This has strengthened my writing, editing, and research skills, as well as my confidence in my abilities.”
Mariah came to us with substantial experience in public health and HIV advocacy in the United States. Others, such as Edith Magak in Kenya, come with more of a journalistic background.
“I came in with no medical background and zero science writing experience, but through the support I’ve been getting, in just about one year, I understand and can clearly write about the latest news on HIV,” Edith said.
“Besides the writing, the programme has enabled me to unlearn and relearn the way I think about HIV prevention and treatment,” she added. “This has given me a voice so that I can now confidently speak to peers and people in my community about the things I write, and how HIV has changed.”
Oğuzhan Nuh is a queer and HIV activist from Turkey. “As a curious person living with HIV, I always enjoyed reading scientific papers on HIV but explaining them to other people was not always easy,” he said. “Reading scientific papers and reporting on them for aidsmap helped me break things down for other people living with HIV and enabled me to argue certain points better as an activist.”
Taking part helped him decide to pursue a scientific career and he is now at the University of Luzern in Switzerland. Similarly, Emerging Voices helped Mariah find new writing opportunities and land a senior role at the Prevention Access Campaign.
Alasdair Sinclair is a doctor and internal medicine trainee in the United Kingdom. “Having little experience as a writer, the Emerging Voices programme has allowed me to develop my own writing style,” he told me. “I thoroughly enjoy the editorial meetings that act as a platform to debate the latest HIV research with a motley group of academics, journalists and activists alike. I couldn’t recommend this opportunity enough to anybody interested in either beginning their journey of writing or for somebody who wants to develop their writing further within the HIV sphere”.
Would you like to join the programme? While we welcome applications from people with a range of skills and interests, we’d particularly like to receive applications from people who can help us fill two gaps in our current team.
Firstly, we’d like to involve more people with strong connections to communities affected by HIV in Africa, Asia, Latin America and elsewhere. If you want to use your writing to draw attention to HIV treatment and prevention issues in low- and middle-income countries, please get in touch.
Secondly, we’d like to recruit people who are specifically interested in writing about antiretrovirals, co-morbidities and other medical issues for people with HIV. Equally, we’d be pleased to hear from people who’d like to report on research towards a vaccine or a cure. Social and prevention issues are already quite well covered in our team, but we would like to engage new writers with more of a scientific focus.
The current wave of recruitment to Emerging Voices closes on 30 August (applications by 9am UK time please). If you are interested, please download and complete the application form and send it to email@example.com.