In the journalism industry, English and communication majors abound. Those with a background in science are a rare commodity indeed. Graduates with a gift for translating dense research studies into the vocabulary of the average 9th grade student will truly stand out among other applicants for a science or health journalism position at news media outlets.
Those writing for specialty outlets that target industry professionals can convey information at a higher level of understanding.
However, landing a journalism job almost always requires presenting a portfolio of published stories or “clips” along with a resume. Budding science journalists will likely need to find an internship (sadly, many are unpaid) with a media organization. Alternatives include hunting down freelance opportunities.
On the upside, online news sites and publications funded by foundations provide opportunities beyond the traditional newspaper or TV station for would-be reporters to accrue published samples.
Creating and maintaining a blog and building a social media presence can also help convince media employers that you have the chops to convey complex material from the lab to the masses.
Science and health journalism is a unique opportunity to help the public better understand their bodies, other human beings and their
environment. Good luck!
About the Author
Jennifer R. Lloyd covers higher education issues and scientific research for the San Antonio Express-News. She joined the Express-News in 2008 to cover pop culture and young adult issues under the umbrella of the features section. After transitioning to the metro section in 2009, she covered general assignments as well as San Antonio’s North Side and Comal County before joining the education team. She previously covered K-12 education, focusing on the city’s largest school districts. Born into a military family, she grew up traveling the world and exploring different cultures. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Washington in Seattle and her master’s degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to coming to the Express-News, she covered arts and nonprofits for the Victoria Advocate and worked as a reporting intern for the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. She has also taught journalism courses at the university level.