Since When do Journalists Need Grad School?

Most people agree that what counts most in creative fields, like journalism, is experience. However, in a field like science journalism there is a certain expectation that a writer will have extensive credentials, including a higher degree. When I interview scientists I have to hold my own with incredibly intelligent and accomplished people, all of whom have their Ph.D., and usually I do just fine, but they often ask me what my Ph.D. is in. Imagine their surprise when I tell them that I don’t have a Ph.D. or even a M.A. (my B.A. in Science Writing is from Lehigh University.)

In my year at BioTechniques, I worked with several interns, three of whom moved on to full-time positions at NPR’s Science Friday and Genome Web. What these writers had that I don’t was a Master’s Degree in Journalism. I’ve always wanted to pursue a graduate degree, so it just made sense for me to apply to grad school for science journalism. I start at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in September.

Part of my reasoning for starting this blog, in addition to wanting to constantly write about science and needing a new venue, was to chronicle my grad school experience as I try to make a name for myself as a science writer. So hopefully this blog will become a mix of personal stories, observations about science, and a few adventures (and I’m sure stumbles) as I chase that dream.