After gaining experience, science writers may take employment as editors and review the work of other science writers. The minimum degree required for this career is a bachelor's degree in science or engineering.
Many science writers find that taking college classes in writing and journalism can be helpful. Some universities also have degree programs in science writing or science journalism. While a degree in science writing is not necessary, many employers find it attractive. Science writers and editors must be able to express ideas clearly and logically and should love to write.
Creativity, curiosity, a broad range of knowledge, self-motivation, and perseverance also are valuable. Science writers and editors must demonstrate good judgment and a strong sense of ethics in deciding what material to publish.
Editors also need tact and the ability to guide and encourage others in their work. Of the many kinds of specialized writers, the science writer has a unique responsibility to the reader. Unlike the sportswriter, for example, whose reader already knows, often in extraordinary detail, the rules of the game and who the players are, science writers frequently introduce readers to a new "game" with every article.
Imagine if sportswriters had to assume that readers had little knowledge of football every time they wrote about the latest NFL game. Science writers also have a sometimes difficult job of teasing out details and anecdotes to produce an attention-grabbing article, video, or radio segment that will draw casual readers or viewers into a topic they might not at first care much about.
Science writers must first understand the science, often the toughest part of the job. Then they must write the article—frequently in only an hour—translating it accurately into a form that is both interesting and intelligible to novices. Good science writers do their best to report accurately, but they always keep in mind what they think will interest the public—which may not be what the scientist thinks should interest the public.
Good science writers read constantly—newspapers, books, reports, journals, and Internet news groups. They attend conventions of scientific societies, where important news is often announced. They interview many scientists for stories. A science writer may travel to far-flung locales to observe sensitive ecosystems, watch the Space Shuttle blast off, visit a nuclear accelerator, or just visit their local science and technology museum. However, they are also responsible for the routine of regular checking with sources at laboratories, factories, hospitals, universities, and government agencies.
The majority of science writers are not newspaper reporters. Some work on staffs of national magazines and Internet news services. Others write for special-interest medical and scientific publications. Many are freelancers, reporting and writing for a variety of media. And some work in broadcast media, ranging from network radio and television news programs to science-documentary production companies. Science writers may work in comfortable, private offices or in noisy rooms filled with the sound of keyboards and computer printers as well as the voices of other writers tracking down information over the telephone.
They may be required to sit for long periods of time. Because they must be precise and highly accurate, their search for information sometimes requires travel to diverse workplaces, such as factories, offices, or laboratories.
Still, many science writers have to make do with telephone interviews, the library, and the Internet. For some science writers, the typical workweek runs 35 to 40 hours. However, they occasionally may work overtime to meet deadlines. Those who prepare morning or weekend publications and broadcasts often work some nights and weekends. Freelance writers generally work more flexible hours, but their schedules must conform to the needs of the client.
Deadlines and erratic work hours, often part of the daily routine for these jobs, may cause stress, fatigue, or burnout. Changes in technology and electronic communications also affect science writers' work environments.
For example, laptops allow them to work from home or while on the road. Writers and editors who use computers for extended periods may experience back pain, eyestrain, fatigue, or repetitive stress injury. Do you have a specific question about a career as a Science Writer that isn't answered on this page? You can find this page online at: How to create an area of expertise as a science writer Location: Science up close and personal Location: Oh now I get it: Training scientists to communicate clearly Location: Get feedback from editors in real time Location: So you think you want to edit?
Science writer for hire: A freelancer-editor-PIO meet-and-greet Location: Exhibit Hall open Location: Marvin Center Third Floor. Humans have big brains. The Wild West of stem cell therapy Location: Wounds, plants, and poisons: Zooming in on cellular processes to solve problems on the farm and battlefield Location: High-tech observation gives scientists a look inside a restless planet Location: Preventing violence against women and girls: Lunch with a Scientist Location: Discovery, retraction, and crisis: How and why press reporting on science matters Location: Case studies in communicating quantum physics Location: A detailed X-ray map of the galactic plane Location: Science provides researchers and census-takers a better way to protect personal data Location: A developing climate threat Location: The Slave Wrecks Project: A participatory exploration of the brutal trade that built modern economies Location: The past, present, and future of the space program Location: New questions about the developing brain Location: The Amazon in crisis Location: Climate science on trial Location: Chemical exposures and consumer health: The case of uterine fibroids Location: The science of quality standards Location: Marvin Center Room Georgetown University Medical Center field trip:
The best guide for teaching and learning effective science writing, this second edition of A Field Guide for Science Writers improves on the classic first edition with a wider range of topics, a new slate of writers, and an up-to-date exploration of the most stimulating and challenging issues in science.
(Science journalists differ from technical writers, who prepare such materials as instruction manuals or reports on new technologies for technical or trade magazines.) Many science journalists write for the lay public; others write for professional audiences, such as scientists, physicians and engineers.
Science writers may not even work for traditional outlets, but may be independent bloggers or bloggers affiliated with the web sites of magazines or other media. Much of a writer’s time may be spent using social media tools to filter breaking science news and interact directly with audiences. Advice for Aspiring Science Writers: Kristen Delevich, one of the students who took my workshop at Yale, distilled some of my remarks about the craft of science writing (such as choosing your words carefully and building paragraphs like cathedral arches) in this blog post.
Science writers today have the opportunity to communicate not just with their audience but globally.”  Blog-based science reporting is filling in to some degree, but has problems of its own. The science writer reports directly to the college's director of marketing and communication. The science writer will serve as the College of Education's lead University of North Carolina - 20 days ago - save job - more.