Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

Who Are Science Writers?

A Guide To Careers in Science Writing

There are two basic categories of science writers: science journalists and science public information officers (PIOs).

Science journalists may work for newspapers, wire services, magazines, book publishers, radio and television networks and individual stations, digital news services and other independent information channels. These news media outlets may be either commercial, such as the local daily newspaper, or non-profit, such as scientific societies that produce magazines, newsletters and online news services. (Science journalists differ from technical writers, who prepare such materials as instruction manuals or reports on new technologies for technical or trade magazines.)

Many science journalists write for the lay public; others write for professional audiences, such as scientists, physicians and engineers. Also, while many science journalists are full-time staff writers for their organizations, many others are free-lancers, paid by the story, the book or the size of their weblog readership.

Science PIOs work for universities, private research foundations, government agencies and laboratories, science museums, publishers, corporations and non-profit science and health organizations.  They may be identified as public affairs officers, media relations representatives or public relations or communications staffers.