How Science News has been a training ground for young science journalists

When I was hired as a summer intern at Science News in 2017, I was equal parts excited and anxious. I’d heard the job had a steep learning curve. But given that physics and astronomy writer Marcia Bartusiak, my graduate school mentor, had gotten her start as a Science News intern — and Marcia was pretty much everything I wanted to be when I grew up — I’d decided to brave the gig.

Though he retired shortly after I arrived, former Science News editor in chief Tom Siegfried still occasionally appeared in the office during my internship. A few times, he edited my stories. During those edits and over lunch breaks, Tom proved to be a font of advice for the trainee science writer: Carry a notebook everywhere. Don’t overstuff a sentence with too many ideas. Don’t start stories with a question; it is a journalist’s job to tell readers something, not the other way around.

That advice served me well as an intern and later as a Science News staff reporter — although I did recently break the no-questions rule to make a fart joke. (Sorry, Tom.) And when I started researching the origins of Science News for my history of the magazine, I discovered that the publication has served as a training ground for science journalists from the very start.

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