Is it a valid career goal? Anything I should know?
It is a very valid goal. There are less than a handful of journalists I respect enough to take their reports seriously.
The one thing you should not fall prey to is that "get it first and out of the door" mentality that the Journalist profession falls for. While speed is important, accuracy in this area is even more so.
You should consider that the journalism market is terrible. The bottom has fallen out because of supply, demand and the internet. It is probably easier to make a little money writing, but uit is much harder to make a living.
Also, consider that science writing makes up about 2% of the total.
I would certainly encourage you to pursue it if you're interested.
Journalism in general is not the lucrative field that it once may have been. But at the same time there are also a lot more ways to make money now.
The world needs more scientific journalists. So much of the media is irrelevant crap. Often it's argued that this junk is what captures peoples' attention and what sells magazines, but I think there's also a "people buy it because it's there" effect, the same way people watch television programs just because they're on. As a result more people care about what dress the Duchess of Cambridge (Kate Middleton) wears for Prince George's first birthday than what the Nobel Prize in physics was awarded for. On to of that we live in a world where a significant portion of the population believes the planet is less than ten thousand years old, or think that climate change is a conspiracy.
I know this is human nature. But we need good journalists covering the interesting and relevant stories in science, people who can understand the science and bring it into the popular media while maintaining the core concepts so that what are arguably the most important human endeavours of our time don't take a back seat in our collective conscience any more than they have to.
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