Health Reporter - Rural Health / Medicaid

North Carolina Health News

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Date Posted January 17, 2023
Industry Digital Media
Specialty Health/Science
Telecommute? Yes
Job Status Full-time
Salary $45,000 to $50,000


We’re looking for a writer to cover rural health care and Medicaid for NC Health News. 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 state and national prizes). 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 in 2021 to private managed care from being a state-run program, so you’ll be watching how that plays out across the state. In 2023, the state will roll out specialized plans for people with behavioral health issues, this will be a big deal that no one else will cover the way we will.

This is not a health reporting job where you write about “10 ways to control your heart disease,” rather one where you might track what a community is doing to help people with heart disease manage their anxiety. You might write about how big changes in national health care policy impact small county Medicaid offices, or visit a new clinic to report on a program that plans to expand health care services to migrant farmworker families. You’ll be talking to physicians, local health officials, sure, but you also should get out and meet people who are being affected by the health care system. Those could be people who are struggling, or it could be those who are participating in an innovative new program. Sometimes it’s a quick turnaround on a pertinent piece of research, other times it’s a deep data dive that you thought was going to be a quick research story

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, 5-8 stories per month, with a range of quick hits and long pieces.

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.

We are looking to hire someone in early March. This is a full-time, exempt position. Occasional nights and weekends may be required. Salary range is $46,000 – $50,000 / year, depending on experience. Application deadline is February 17.

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, an outlet with a national reputation for excellence. Your stories will often be carried by our North Carolina partner organizations: in 2022, more than 135 publications republished, digested or referenced our work (e.g. they wrote editorials based on our reporting).

Our goal is to have the new person on board by early March, 2023 so you can overlap with our outgoing reporter, who is moving out of state.

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.


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.

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 North Carolina is a plus, but not absolutely necessary. So, while remote work is "OK" we really need you to be located in North Carolina.

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). Spanish language skills are a huge plus.

The expectation is that you’ll spend 10 to 20 percent 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 for us) developed a side beat in mental health… we’re open to you developing your interests!

You could be located anywhere in North Carolina. We're based in the Research Triangle area.

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

When applying, mention you saw this opening listed at