I recently started some work experience with the Association of British Science Writers. As such, I appear in an article from the latest European Union of Science Journalists Association (EUSJA) newsletter (PDF). It’s on page 10, but I’ve also reproduced the text here:
WHAT? MORE YOUNG SCIENCE JOURNALISTS?
A popular option in the UK for students who complete a science degree is to look to science communication courses. Over the past six years there has been a growth in the number of universities offering MSc courses in science communication. Supporters say it gives young wannabe journalists a good start, critics say there are already too many freelancers on the market looking for work and not enough jobs to go around for existing hacks.
At the ABSW (Association of British Science Writers) so great was the demand for information about science journalism that we have started a new category of membership – student – and run a series of training workshops and briefings. A mentoring programme is now being investigated.
One of our newest members is 22 years old Jacob Aron, a maths graduate from Bristol. He is now enrolled on to a year long science communication course at Imperial College. Over now to Jacob to tell us why he decided on the course and what he hopes for the future:
“Although I studied maths at university I have always enjoyed writing in my spare time, so when I found the science communication MSc at Imperial it seemed like the perfect career for me. The course is set up to allow an overview of science communication; not just straight journalism, but also PR, museum curating, and even science fiction. As I’m still working out what are I want to move into, this broad approach was more appealing to me than the sister MSc (science media production) which is more broadcast focused.
“Going in to the course, I was concerned about the availability of jobs, especially considering I would be in direct competition with my forty-odd classmates once graduating. My fears were quickly put to rest however, as Imperial say that 60% of graduates end up in directly related science communication jobs, whilst 80 to 90% in total find work in PR and related areas.
“Without studying science communication, I’d be hard pressed to land any of these jobs. Looking at my CV an employee sees a maths degree and a stint working in a bank; not traditionally the makings of a good writer. The MSc is helping me to hone my skills and experience working in a range of media. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find a job come this October – and it’s not like the banks are recruiting these days anyway!”