Geoscience jobs within the communications sector can be categorized in a variety of ways, but generally fall into one of two major categories: science journalism and science public relations. However, this distinction is becoming increasingly blurred. In both categories, jobs may be focused on print (newspapers, magazines, online publications, research features, illustration), non-print (social media, podcasting, radio, television), or a combination of media. Read more below to learn about these different pathways and the various types of employers in science journalism and public relations.
Science journalists report news of scientific advances to the public in print (news, features, books) or non-print (podcasts, radio, television). MIT's Knight Science Journalism Program provides an overview of being a science journalist with linked resources.
While science journalism careers were traditionally considered to be separate from those in public relations, the field has been changing and the distinction has become more fluid. These days, most jobs in science journalism are freelance, meaning that communicators are paid for each piece of reporting accepted by a publisher. Because freelance journalism is typically lower paying than a full time position, some journalists also hold a second position (like a staff job in science communication at a research institution). There are few staff jobs in science journalism, but freelance work does offer benefits like running your own business, working on a variety of interesting topics, and flexible work schedules. Explore the resources below to learn more about freelance journalism and example employers.
Learn all about freelance science writing with resources from the National Association of Science Writers.
Find information for beginning freelancers in Freelancing 101 from Pitch Publish Prosper.
View freelancer guidelines from an example employer, Science.
Read an article by Molly McCluskey on how freelance journalism requires the mindset of a small business owner.
Scientific American Nature
Science News Discover
Almost every science institution, from museums to non-profit research institutions to universities to professional societies, employs science communicators to share the work of its scientists with the public. Job titles in public relations include "public information officers," "press officers," "communications managers," "educational officers," and many more. Depending on the institution and sector, the responsibilities of science communicators can range widely. Science communicators typically work in staff jobs to generate press releases about recent research, but may also be involved in other work like social media campaigns, internal newsletters, or website management. While most jobs in public relations are full time staff positions, some freelance opportunities exist and press releases written by institutional science communicators may be picked up by science journalists writing for news outlets.
University of Florida US DOE Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory
University of Washington Seisomological Society of America
NASA Goddard Florida Museum of Science
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