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So you want to be a  science journalist

Whenever anyone asks me for advice about getting into science journalism, I sound like a broken record, so I'll save you an email: here's what I'll probably say!

1. Write

...in whatever way you can! The sad reality is that many good opportunities don't pay, and only you know if you can afford to take on that kind of work. If at all possible, find an opportunity that pays you for your time -- you're worth it.

Some excellent paid opportunities:

The Open Notebook's Early Career Fellowship

Grist's Fellowship program

High Country News Internships and Fellowships

Science Magazine's Writing Internship

If you're a scientist interested in journalism, consider the AAAS Mass Media Fellowship.

2. Do your research

The Open Notebook has a wealth of knowledge, including an entire section about getting started in science journalism. To read up on the state of journalism, check out the Columbia Journalism Review. Poynter, or Nieman Lab.

The Science Writers' Handbook is a great primer for writers, as is Michelle Nijhuis's Science Writers' Essay Handbook and Brooke Borel's Chicago Guide to Fact Checking.

3. Find your people

Join a writers' organization. Ready for a bunch of acronyms? Here's a very US-centric list:

General groups:

World Federation of Science Journalists (WFSJ)

National Association for Science Writers (NASW)

Society for Environmental Journalists (SEJ)

Solutions Journalism Network (SJN)

Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ)

Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ)

Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE)

For writers from groups traditionally underrepresented in journalism:

Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA)

National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)

National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)

Native American Journalists Association

NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists

Opportunities for Writers of Color on Twitter

Regional science writing groups:

Northwest Science Writers' Association (NSWA)

SCONC (North Carolina)

Austin Science Writers

DCSWA (DC Science Writers

Northern California Science Writers

Capital Science Communicators (Sacramento)

SWINY (New York)

Southern California Science Writers

New England Science Writers

Badger Science Writers (Wisconsin)

And if these aren't enough, you can always create your own group of writers on Slack!

4. Get paid

Awards in science writing

International Women's Media Foundation grants

The Open Notebook's grant guide

 

 

Unsolicited recommendations:

Scrivener (for writing / storyboarding)

Call Recorder for Skype

Pearnote (for note-taking and recording)

Toggl (for time tracking)

A good pen