The summer sci-comm job scoop

7/12/2019 10:49:27 AM

The summer-recreation season is in full swing, as vacationers flock to beaches to bake in the sun and dip their toes in the waters to cool off. Warmer weather also means that environmental issues like water pollution can be more visible and even put a damper on the best of summer plans.  

As an example, the state of Mississippi recently closed all of its public beaches on the Gulf of Mexico because of the human-health threat from toxic cyanobacterial (aka blue-green algal) blooms. These blooms often are the result of an influx of nutrients (i.e., nitrogen, phosphorous) from agricultural and urban runoff waters that funnel into the Mississippi River basin and drain into the Gulf. All of this eutrophication kills off aquatic life, creates human-health risks and wreaks havoc on the local economy (i.e., lost tourism and commercial fisheries revenues).    

Such events also present a good opportunity to educate the public on environmental and human-health issues by telling science stories that are relatable and show the real impact on everyday lives. Science-trained communicators are needed across media outlets, research organizations and nonprofits to translate the science behind pressing societal concerns to gain public support for creating solutions and impact future behaviors to mitigate these issues.  

This week’s job roundup features sci-comm positions open in media relations and science reporting. If you’re just getting started in science communications, there are some sample internship and fellowship programs listed below.

Also, check out these careers blog posts on building a portfolio career in science communications and sci-art careers for even more beginner tips. Another good way to add to your science-writing portfolio is to contribute to the award-winning ASBMB Today magazine. There are open calls for submissions in several categories right now.  

Weekly jobs roundup  

  • The Union of Concerned Scientists (Washington, D.C.) has an opening for a one-year, paid media intern position. The intern will work on media relations to promote the organization’s policy work to create science-based solutions that protect health, safety and the environment. Minimum qualifications include general communication skills and interest in science, the environment and media issues. The application deadline is July 14 or until the position is filled.  
  • The environmental-news outlet Grist is accepting applications for its news and politics fellowship program. Topical areas of news coverage include climate, politics, clean energy, sustainable food, livable cities, environmental justice and a carbon-free economy. The paid program is open to early-career journalists, reporters and editors. Fellows can choose to work out of the Seattle office or remotely and must make a six-month commitment. The application deadline is July 22 for the fall cohort.  
  • The digital media company Axios (Arlington, Va., or remote) is hiring a science reporter to produce its weekly science newsletter and work on daily science coverage. The Axios science section covers a number of topics related to science and society from space news to environmental and biomedical health stories. Minimum qualifications include the ability to write, edit and report on science stories. No application deadline is provided.  
  • Oregon Public Broadcasting (Portland) is seeking a science writer/content producer to join its science and environment team. The science writer will develop digital, broadcast and social-media content at the intersection of science and culture across the Pacific Northwest. Topics may include technology, engineering, biomedical, astrophysics, genetics, chemistry, earth sciences and the environment. Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree, skills in visual-storytelling methods, and three years of journalism-related experience. The application deadline is Aug. 16.  
  • The Maryland Sea Grant program, located within the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, is hiring a science writer/editor to join the communications team. The program’s mission is to advance public understanding and management of Maryland’s natural resources. The science writer will have primary responsibilities for writing science narratives and technical content for various publications. Topics may include ecosystem dynamics, pollution reduction, aquaculture, fisheries management and climate-change adaptation. Minimum qualifications include a bachelor’s degree and preferred is two years of writing experience. No application deadline is provided. 

Donna Kridelbaugh is a contributor to the ASBMB Careers Blog. She holds an advanced degree in microbiology and is a former lab manager.   

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