By James Dacey
There are many routes into science journalism, and my own journey was certainly not carved into a stone tablet when I was a child. In short, I was always fascinated by the ideas and concepts of science but my real passion was the communication of those ideas to others. (I was also fairly useless at the practical aspects of my BSc in natural sciences.) It was only later on, during my Master’s degree when I started writing for the student newspaper, that I started to seriously think about making a career out of this journalism game. I vividly remember the excitement of seeing my name in print those first few times. The idea that someone might actually pay me to include my name in their publication was too much to resist.
I knew of course that I was not alone in this career choice. The crucial next step for any budding journo is to build a strong portfolio of work and achievements to mark you out from the crowd. This helps you to grab the attention of those potential employers, who will quite likely be hurling you straight onto the front line of their operation as a junior reporter.
If you are a student in the UK or Ireland also hoping for a career in science media then here is an opportunity to get some vital recognition. The Institute of Physics (IOP) and IOP Publishing, which publishes Physics World, are sponsoring a new prize to recognize excellence within student journalism. It will be awarded to a popular science publication published in print or online, where your publication will be judged on its content, creativity in choice of content, and the way the content is presented.
The IOP student science publication prize is part of the 2014 Association of British Science Writers (ABSW) Awards. As well as the kudos, the winning entrant will be awarded £300, with the runner up receiving £200. Entries for the prize will close at midnight on Sunday 23 March. Find out how to apply, along with the details of all the other awards on the ABSW website.