Laura López González is an award-winning health / science writer and editor with almost 15 years of experience. She has headed up the news desks of half of South Africa’s specialist health reporting outlets. López holds a bachelors from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a master’s from the University of Chicago.
“I tell a good story with the science to back it up – stories that fill the gap and move the conversation. I don’t just want to tell readers what is happening, but rather why and what it tells us about the world we live in and the way it shapes our lives and our health.
“I am a first-generation Chicana who grew up in California — the daughter of a chemical engineer and a former chemistry teacher turned x-ray tech and unionist. They taught me that health is about much more than pills. It is also about who you are and where you’re from.
“By 2005, I was reporting on health and the HIV epidemic from Johannesburg, half a world away, while South Africa still languished under AIDS denialism.
“To combat misinformation, doctors taught activists HIV science and they, in turn, taught me. I owe much of how I think and write about the science of health and the world around us to them, especially my belief that science’s true power lies in its ability to be understood by anyone.
“Eventually, I had the great privilege of teaching dozens of young and citizen journalists across South Africa. I became the only woman in the country to act as a news editor for the bulk of the country’s non-profit health reporting centres – Health-e News and the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism – for almost a decade. During my time, readership at both centres grew by at least three-fold.
“I am fluent in English and Spanish. I am also a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
“I tell stories that fill the gap and move the conversation.”
Today, I focus on writing stories that blend the facts and figures with good, old-fashioned storytelling as a freelance health and science writer, editor and researcher.
I also provide training, coaching and communications consulting for fellow writers and non-profits looking to tell better stories — whether for news outlets or about their own work.
This includes helping nonprofits repackage their work into compelling opinion pieces, advocacy documents and other offerings.
I love a good story with the science to back it. I focus on stories that not only tell you something is happening but tell you why it’s happening — and maybe help us understand the world around us better.
I work with journalists and thought leaders to make their stories, comment pieces and research come alive by bringing out their voices, building narratives and translating hard science into everyday language.
Training & Coaching
I’ve spent the last decade training and mentoring professional and community journalists on everything, from what makes a story to how to think about angles and write a lead.
I’ve worked with organizations to help get staff thinking more strategically about communications and research translation. If you’re struggling with how to tell your story better, whether as a journalist, newsroom or nonprofit, let’s chat! And each month, I hold a limited number of free office hours just for that. Email me to find out more.
Interested in working together?
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2019 Standard Bank Sikuvile Journalism Awards: Features Journalist of the Year
2018 Discovery Health Journalism Awards: Best Comment and Analysis Finalist
2018 Discovery Health Journalism Awards: Best Health News Reporting Finalist
2018 Standard Bank Sikuvile Awards: Best Column / Editorial
2017 Standard Bank Sikuvile Awards: Enterprise Journalist of the Year
2017 Discovery Health Journalism Awards: Best Analysis and Commentary Writing Finalist
2016 Discovery Health Journalism Awards: Health Economics Journalist of the Year
2015 Vodacom Regional Journalist Awards: Northern Region Online Journalist of the Year
2014 Africa Story Challenge Award: Second place for Best Health Reporting
2010 Gender and Media in Southern Africa Awards: Best Sustained Reporting