I have a few guesses but don't know exactly why it is that science journalism, as a beat, grabs people by the lapels and won't let go. I'm not referring to its readers but to those of use who do it. I tend, when asked by somebody how or whether to get in, to tell them there is one thing I know. Most who dive in never come out of the pool - we are almost all lifers.
And now I know what I'm going to do as soon as I finish posting for the day, and polishing off a freelance piece in the afternoon, um, and playing some tennis and.. anyway, I'll do it soon. I'm going to send to science writer Ed Yong (the Brit in the picture) a contribution to his thread that is piling up at a post on his Not Exactly Rocket Science Blog. As of this morning at 7:06 a.m. Pacific Time, USA, 117 science writers had commented in the form of personal essays addressing two questions: How did you get started in the business, and what's your advice for newcomers? This is in only a few days - Ed put it up July 29.
I haven't had time to scroll through them all but it's worth reading. If you are in this no-exit line of work yourself you'll recognize a LOT of the names of those who've answered his summons. They have left short confessionals, nicely written, natch -- and bracing to read as in, for instance, the aside from a one-time rock & roll writer who regards science journalism (and blogging) as a better path because so far no physicist has ever puked on her shoes.
Also thanks to Kate Travis for her post at the AAAS Science Careers Blog, who also extols Yong's effort and which brought my attention to it.
- Charlie Petit