Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Breaking In to Conference Coverage

> Hello,
> I stumbled onto your blog today and appreciate the resource. I am a
> medical writer who currently writes lots of abstracts and posters and
> I'd like to break into conference coverage, particularly in the areas
> of [redacted].
> I've previously done some conference coverage at [redacted]. Do you have any
> suggestions for how to go about this? Which outlets are best for a
> newby, etc?
> I've heard starting out, companies don't usually pay travel--but will
> they pay conference registration fees?
> Thank you for your time,
> [redacted]


I'm happy you're finding my blog useful. If I could get off my duff and
update it more than once a month it would be more useful still.

If I were trying to break into conference coverage, I would focus on
medical trade papers and other resources for physicians (such as rather than general interest publications. Many of the
medical trades use freelancers, especially when the freelancer is local
to the conference and so wouldn't need to travel. I don't know how many
conferences are in [your city], but you may want to consider which other
cities are a doable commute for you. Then find out what the upcoming
conferences are
and contact the trade papers you've decided to target.

You're right that most of these companies won't pay travel expenses for
someone just starting out, but as you become more of a known quantity,
it's legitimate to expect that they would pay for your travel. And
conference registration fees are rarely an issue. Reporters on
assignment routinely receive complementary registration, especially when
they have an assignment letter and have contacted the conference
sponsors in advance.

Please feel free to contact me with additional questions.


That goes for the rest of you as well. I'm happy to answer questions from new and aspiring medical and science writers.

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