Is there a journalism major in the house?
Kavin Sundaram (sophomore, Cedar Falls, Iowa) has dreams of going to medical school and becoming a medical correspondent for CNN or a major publication.
To start, Sundaram is working with the news and publication division of The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics marketing and communications department.
“I see scientists more and more shaping the way we see our lives so I wanted to combine [my journalism and science] disciplines,” Sundaram said.
The internship Sundaram found at UIHC was the perfect match. As an intern, Sundaram works closely with his supervisor and gets assigned two to three stories a week.
Most of the writers who contribute to UIHC publications have some sort of background in journalism and marketing. Sundaram admired these writers because they had the ability to take challenging topics and shape them in a way that others could understand.
“I think there’s a real need for medical journalism because there’s more science in our lives,” Sundaram said. “I feel like medical journalists need to be there to bridge the gap between top notch people in the field of science and lay people.”
Because science is always evolving, Sundaram enjoys covering these types of topics. The fact that he gets the opportunity to interview some of the most knowledgeable people in the field is also an exciting aspect.
“People have stereotypes that scientists are boring or mundane,” Sundaram said. “There’s an incredible diversity in interests and research at UIHC and the people are interesting.”
Another reason Sundaram is drawn to medical journalism is because he feels that people outside of the scientific world enjoy reading about the “awe-inspiring” aspects, such as relief work in Haiti, that occasionally emerge from science and medicine.
“There’s always a public fascination with medicine,” Sundaram said.
Apart from obtaining many important skills from his internship, Sundaram is enrolled in “Science, Technology and Medicine” reporting class taught by John Goodlove.
Sundaram said, “The skills that you develop at the JMC-School: researching, reporting accurately, writing clearly, multimedia skills help journalists translate difficult concepts and make them understandable.”
Those who have this sort of background may find themselves capable of adapting to any sort of journalism genre that they are placed in.
“I think there will be an increase in demand for people who can sit down and explain [scientific, medical and technological] topics to others,” Sundaram said.
Although he has a couple years before he trades in his pencil and notebook at the J-MC School for hospital scrubs, Sundaram “plans to stick with” writing for science-driven publications.
“Writing about [medical] topics at UIHC, I think has given me the practice I need to clearly convey these complicated types of topics,” Sundaram said. “I really enjoy what I’ve been doing so far. It’s been a really positive experience.”