C areers in Science Writing. Nick Zagorski , PhD Science Writer American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. What is Science Writing?. The “art” of making science accessible and interesting to non-experts. Chimps Trade Meat for the Chance of Sex. The Progression of Science.
Nick Zagorski, PhD
American Society for Biochemistry
and Molecular Biology
The “art” of making science accessible and interesting to non-experts
Chimps Trade Meat for
the Chance of Sex
Lethargus is a C. elegans sleep-like state
David M. Raizen, John E. Zimmerman, Matthew H. Maycock, Uyen D. Ta, Young-jai You, Meera V. Sundaram & Allan I. Pack,
Nature 451, 569–572 (2008)
PHILADELPHIA – Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine report in this week’s advanced online edition of Nature that the roundworm C. elegans, a staple of laboratory research, may be key in unlocking one of the central biological mysteries: why we sleep.
Education & Entertainment
A man coming off his night shift gets into his car. He knows it's the most dangerous part of his day, a time when his body aches for sleep.
Next to the actual experiments and results, reading, writing, listening and talking about those results is the most time-consuming and essential part of any investigator’s career
Advancing Your Career in Science Communications:
Masthead Progression – From writer to editor
Progression of length – from short articles to feature stories to books
Progression of format – from the pages to the “waves”
Progression of Fields – cut the ‘science’ from ‘science writer’
How much do you enjoy the writing and presentation aspects of your research?
Are you genuinely excited about speaking or having a poster at an upcoming conference?
Do you look forward to writing the Discussion portion of your papers?
Do you enjoy writing grants, relishing the challenge of presenting your work as the most important thing going on in biomedical research today?
How are your communication skills outside the lab?
Do you find it easy to explain your work to friends and family?
Do you contribute to (or even host) blogs, science or otherwise?
If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, then science writing may be right for you.
Whatever choice you may ultimately pursue, all of them are fraught with the same obstacle to aspiring science writers:
published writing samples
Your degrees, skill set, and cover letter all look great, but like any creative field, your portfolio is key to getting that offer/interview
There are plenty of opportunities for freelance writing, but this field is just as competitive (if not more) than the job market. And this field tends to favor established writers.
So, how do you get writing samples as a full-time student/post-doc?
Read, watch, listen science – absorb & react
Charles Darwin – On the Origin of Species Brian Greene – The Elegant Universe
James Watson – The Double Helix DavaSobel – Longitude, Galileo’s Daughter
Paul de Kruif – Microbe Hunters Michael Pollan – The Botany of Desire, Omnivore’s Dilemma
New York Times Science Section NPR: Science Friday and All Things Considered
‘Front Matter’ of Science and Nature An Inconvenient Truth
Best American Science Writing SeriesDiscovery Network: Both TV and Web
General Resources/Career Advice:
Science Careers http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/(advanced search exact phrase science writing)
Bio Career Center http://www.biocareercenter.com/index.html
ASBMB www.asbmb.org(Careers & Education menu Career Development)
National Association of Science Writers (NASW) www.nasw.org
Council for the Advancement of Science Writing (CASW) http://casw.org/
(also regional science writing groups: DC, Philly, San Diego, Northern California, Northwest)
Seminar on science writing and the “new media: http://www.eurekalert.org/seminar/2008/video.php
http://www.journalism.wisc.edu/dsc/index.html(Fairly robust directory of science writing grad programs)
If you want to take a direct plunge to film: http://naturefilm.montana.edu/index.php
AAAS Mass Media Fellowship: http://www.aaas.org/programs/education/MassMedia/
Other AAAS internships: http://www.aaas.org/careercenter/internships/
Science News: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/page/id/32647/title/Internships
NPR: http://www.npr.org/about/jobs/intern/index.html(specifically the “Science Desk” internship)
The Jackson Lab: http://education.jax.org/science_writer.html
National Cancer Institute: https://hcip.nci.nih.gov/
SLAC National Accelerator: http://www-group.slac.stanford.edu/com/science_writing_internship.htm
http://www.journalismjobs.com/(geared to all media jobs, but can specify for science & health)