by Michelle Guillemard
Jane McCredie is a Sydney-based writer on science and medicine and the Executive Director of the New South Wales Writers’ Centre. The former news and features editor on leading medical publication Australian Doctor, she has also worked for The Age and contributed to publications including the British Medical Journal, the Australian and the Sydney Morning Herald.
Jane is the co-editor of The Best Australian Science Writing 2013 and the author of Beyond X and Y: Inside the Science of Gender. She also blogs weekly at MJA Insight. Follow Jane on Twitter @janemccredie
How did you get your ‘big break’ as a health/medical writer?
I came from a background in the general media and, through a series of circumstances, found myself working at Australian Doctor. It wasn’t planned.
What’s your best piece of advice for those who are considering a career in medical writing or who are just starting out?
Familiarise yourself with the various outlets. Work out their audience and their style. Read voraciously. And then pitch a story that is well targeted for their particular readership.
The Northern Territory intervention. I accompanied a medical team to a remote Aboriginal community during the intervention. The issues in Aboriginal health are so complex and there are so many competing and conflicting interests.
What’s the hardest thing about being a medical writer?
Keeping abreast of the volume of research. And getting hold of experts, who are generally busy medical specialists, when you need them.
How has medical writing changed during the course of your career?
As with all journalism, a lot of the traditional financial models underlying quality work are under threat. Less money means fewer knowledgeable, experienced journalists and less time for them to explore issues in depth.
What do you love most about medical writing and why?
That it expands my brain because I’m always learning something new.