Each month, IJNet features an international journalist who exemplifies the profession and has used the site to further his or her career. If you would like to be featured, email a short bio and a paragraph about how you have used IJNet by January 30 here.
This month's journalist, Susana Vanessa Landívar Moreira, is a reporter from Ecuador who specializes in health and science and has used IJNet to find training opportunities and resources to improve her career.
Through IJNet, Landívar learned of the Ealy Science Journalism workshop at the University of California - San Diego and a attended a seminar in Panama organized by the United Nations Environment Programme.
IJNet: What is your background and where do you work now?
Susana Landívar: I earned my journalism degree in 2008 at the Universidad Laica de Guayaquil but my career started in 2004 as a proofreader for a political magazine. In 2005 I joined the newspaper El Universo to be part of the Diario Súper. I've been the editor of the section Mi Familia since then and I also coordinate the weekly magazine Mujer.
IJNet: How has IJNet helped you?
SL: Thanks to IJNet, in May 2011 I heard about the Ealy Science Journalism workshop at the University of California - San Diego. I applied and was selected among 177 applicants.
I also applied to attend a seminar on sustainable water management and coastal resources in Panama organized by the United Nations Environment Programme. I was also selected.
I'm happy because I’ve received training out of my country, I’ve learned invaluable tools for my work and also met other reporters from Latin America.
IJNet: How do you get ideas for stories?
SL: I find story ideas from my own personal experience, because I write about health and everyone and their family has health issues. (I also find stories) from my friends, relatives and colleagues, who ask me to write about certain pathologies or emotional problems they or their families are suffering from.
(Also I get ideas) from what readers ask us and, of course, we focus on current issues. For example, the recent measles outbreak in Latin America led us to prepare a series of stories on how to prevent this disease.
IJNet: What is your proudest work/story so far?
SL: I think my best stories (that I remember) have been one about Type 2 diabetes mellitus, which was awarded with the Merck, Sharp and Dohme pharmaceutical health journalism award; a story about child support of children of divorced parents; other about HIV…which dealt with the importance of patient adherence to treatment. (These stories are available only in print.)
I remember these stories because each has an story behind it...or the idea came by in a particular way. I think these are the topics that bring you closer to people and that people want to read.
IJNet: What programs or journalism courses did you find most useful?
SL: I attended two international workshops thanks to IJNet. The science journalism workshop fit me like a glove because it dealt with what I write about every day. That encouraged me a lot and made more confident in my reporting.
The other course about environmental journalism spiked my curiosity about environmental issues. Both have enriched me as a professional.
IJNet: What advice would you give aspiring journalists?
SL: I would humbly say to young journalists to be prepared, to read a lot and about any subject. You never know what issue or story you will be covering each day, and you must have some background information to ask questions and write about it. (Reading) also enriches your vocabulary, gives you ideas for future stories, opens your imagination and creativity.
It is a great medicine.