I decided to be a reporter at the age of 14 when I read a biography of journalist Nelly Bly. I was drawn not by her groundbreaking exposes at the turn of the last century but by the fact that she got paid to travel and write about it. That sounded like a dream job to me and all these years later, I still think it is a dream job.
I spent most of my career as a writer and editor at Newsweek, where I worked with Family Goes Strong writer Karen Springen on many stories. Newsweek was a wonderful place to work because the whole world was our beat. I had the chance to cover everything from the cult suicides in Waco to the death of Princess Diana to Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 attacks. When my two sons were young, I often wrote about family issues. As they got older, I switched to education.
As I got older, I started focusing on health and medicine. That led me to write a book about menopause, called, appropriately, "The Menopause Book" (Workman Publishing). I've won lots of awards for my work but the real reward is still the opportunity to indulge my curiosity and get paid for it. After I left Newsweek in 2010, I began teaching at Columbia Journalism School, where many of my wonderful students seem to agree that reporting is indeed a dream job.
What I Know Now That I Didn't Know at 20
- There are no stupid questions. I was not the greatest student but I have always loved to learn. That's why reporting has been a prefect profession for me: I ask really smart people to explain the world. Early in my career, I would often be embarrassed to ask basic questions about a subject, but now I know that the only thing to be embarrassed about is a lack of curiosity.
- The human body is endlessly interesting. I come from a family of scientists and doctors (one of my sons is now a scientist) but I resisted covering these topics for years because I wanted to forge my own professional path. Now I am thrilled to be able to focus on health and medicine for Health Goes Strong, where I've blogging since the very beginning way back in late 2009. I'm never at a loss for topics and I feel privileged to be able to provide information that can help my readers live longer and more productive lives.
My favorite posts
- How to Beat Jet Lag. I love traveling, but not jet lag. This post contains my favorite tips for avoiding it, plus a video diary I kept the week before a trip when I tried to follow a sleep doctor's anti-jet lag regimen.
- How to Help a Friend Who Has Cancer. When I wrote this post, I had just taken a friend with Stage IV breast cancer to see a breast cancer specialist. I expanded on what I have learned since then in What to Tell a Friend Who Has Cancer.
- How to Handle the Office Cookie Monster. If you work in an office, you have seen this happen. Someone decides to go on a diet and co-workers offer tempting treats. What's behind this sabotage?
- Is Your Doctor Too Fat? This post explains why a fat doctor may be hazardous to your health.
- How Attitudes About Menopause Have Changed. Doctors used to think that hot flashes were figments of women's imaginations. This post explains why things are better now. I've also written about how you can defeat hot flashes with lifestyle changes.