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Science Writer - Breaking Into The Field

physician writers journalist writing training

While lack of science training is not a bar to working as a science journalist, a growing number of working science writers have undergraduate science degrees, or a combined degree in science and journalism. The bigger publications and broadcast organizations place a premium on good writers with scientific training. Beyond that, being a trained researcher enables a journalist to ask questions that a colleague less knowledgeable might miss. Writers who do more specialized types of writing, such as medical writing for a physician audience, especially benefit from background in their field. Very few working science writers have advanced degrees, but there are advantages, both for the skills and knowledge gained and the credentials, which may lead to opportunities not otherwise available.

While valuing a scientific background, many media organizations put an even higher premium on good writing and the ability to make a difficult subject accessible to nonspecialist readers. A talented and hardworking journalist who is willing to do the necessary research and homework is thus often a valuable commodity even without specific science training.

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