Laura Helmuth

Laura Helmuth

Health and science editor, the Washington Post, Washington, D.C.

Laura Helmuth is the health and science editor for the Washington Post and the immediate past president of the National Association of Science Writers. She has been an editor for National Geographic, Slate, Smithsonian, and Science magazines, and a freelance writer or editor for the New York Times, Nautilus, National Wildlife, Stanford Medicine and other publications. She is a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's standing committee on science communication, and serves on the boards of High Country News, Knowable magazine, Society for Science and the Public, SciLine, and Spectrum and is a council member of the Geological Society of Washington. She has a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience from the University of California at Berkeley and attended the UC Santa Cruz science writing program.

Pitching guidelines:

The Washington Post covers most areas of health and science, as well as policy and politics related to research, health care, health insurance, and science funding. We primarily cover the United States, but we do run stories from around the world. I can recommend editors from our financial, international, wellness and other departments if a pitch isn't quite a fit for my health and science department.

We are looking for stories that go well beyond a single study, although it's fine if a study is the peg for a story. We do not cover early stages of research; for example, we don't cover medical research when it is in the animal model stage of testing. We favor stories that show the consequences of government policies for people, stories that pull together a recent body of research, and stories that give important science background for subjects that are in the news. We do publish first-person articles that have additional reporting and use the author's personal experience as a way to understand a body of research. But it doesn't have to all be serious — we also like to run quirky, surprising, or funny stories.

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