Senior Staff Writer for Clinical and Research News

Job Type

Full Time




800 Maine Avenue Southwest
District of Columbia
United States


Are you a self-starter with a nose for news, an inquisitive mind, and a desire to contribute to a medical field dedicated to improving the lives of people with mental illness? Would you like to work with like-minded individuals on this mission? The American Psychiatric Association is looking for a talented and enthusiastic science writer with expertise in pharmacology for its print and electronic news products who takes pride in translating scientific findings into engaging prose to educate psychiatrists about the latest findings in the field as well as inform them about news in related areas that impact the practice of psychiatry. The ideal candidate knows how to communicate clearly, can work independently and in a team environment under tight deadlines, and enjoys developing original ideas for news and feature articles. A Pharm.D. degree is highly desired, and photographic and video skills are a plus.


This position entails writing news and feature articles primarily on clinical and research developments in psychiatry, with particular emphasis on psychopharmacology, for Psychiatric News, the American Psychiatric Association’s official newspaper, and its related electronic news vehicles. Other areas of responsibility include reporting on topics that have an impact on the practice of psychiatry and patients. The incumbent must follow accepted journalistic practices and standards and plan art (photos, charts, etc.) to accompany articles and news briefs. Also required are excellent writing, analytic, and interpersonal skills; the ability to meet tight deadlines and work under pressure; and the ability to work successfully with Psychiatric News colleagues and within a membership association environment. A Pharm.D. degree is highly desired.


  • Write original news and feature articles for Psychiatric News (print and web versions) on self-initiated or assigned topics on psychopharmacology and other clinical and research areas of psychiatry with approval of Executive Editor. Examples of topics include drug approvals, drug recalls, drug efficacy studies, and legislation regarding substances that are significant to the field of psychiatry.
  • Develop articles through gathering information from face-to-face and telephone interviews, attending scientific and professional meetings, regularly reading medical journals as well as popular press, conducting research on the Internet, etc.
  • Analyze and evaluate information gathered through #1 to determine whether it should be used in Psychiatric News either as the focus for an article or in some secondary way.
  • Analyze and interpret detailed and complex scientific information from multiple credible sources and distill significant and relevant material into easily understood articles appropriate for the Psychiatric News readership.
  • Write articles following accepted journalistic standards.
  • Verify information and quotes.
  • Write articles in a timely manner to meet the publication's deadlines.
  • Type articles on a PC using common word-processing software.
  • Proof read articles before submission and at the page-proof stage.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.
  • Write original news and feature articles for Psychiatric News on self-initiated or assigned topics in areas that have an impact on psychiatric practice and its patients. Examples of such topics include clinical and research news, health care reform, health care economics, state and federal legislation, APA advocacy and public relations initiatives, APA’s outreach activities, and Supreme Court cases.
  • Write brief news reports and plan art for Psychiatric News Alert (daily news service delivered via e-mail and RSS feeds) on self-initiated or assigned topics and contribute appropriate news briefs to the Psychiatric News Update (weekly e-newsletter).
  • Follow issues and developments in psychiatry and related fields and maintain contact with professional sources, APA components, and APA staff to originate story ideas and assess news value.
  • Monitor a variety of media, including journals, trade and lay publications, broadcast reports, Internet sites, press releases, and blogs pertaining to psychiatry, the medical profession, and related fields.
  • Maintain regular contact with sources throughout APA for news and information that would be of interest to APA members or that APA wants members need to know.
  • Maintain regular contact with sources throughout the psychiatric clinical and research community, including, but not limited to, the federal institutes, academic and private medical centers, and clinical and private-practice settings.
  • Identify, and attend as assigned, conferences and other meetings that are likely to yield valuable scientific, clinical, or practice-management information for readers.
  • Keep Executive Editor informed of news/developments and sensitive issues about which incumbent learns in the course of carrying out position responsibilities.
  • Plan art to accompany articles in Psychiatric News.
  • Identify those articles for which photos, art, tables, charts, etc., are appropriate, with an emphasis on summarizing complex and detailed scientific data in a visually appealing and informative manner, and discuss with Executive Editor or Associate Editor.
  • Take or procure photographs or art.
  • Design or obtain charts or tables and get permission to reproduce them as necessary.
  • Write captions for photos, charts, etc., and proof final product.

 • Other duties as assigned.


  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, or a related area with expertise in the sciences or health professions or a degree in the health professions field with extensive writing experience. At least seven years’ experience writing and editing in a medical or health-related field is required; at least four years' experience is required for candidates with an advanced degree (Ph.D., Pharm.D.).
  • An advanced degree in pharmacy or a scientific discipline related to medicine or the health professions is strongly preferred.
  • Experience in a professional association is preferred.
  • Experience in the health professions in an academic and research medical center or clinical practice environment is preferred.
  • Experience in photography is preferred.
  • Proficiency on PC computer, word-processing software, and common office equipment is required.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

No requirement