10 Reasons the planksip Journalist Program is Perfect for a Science Writer
In the mid-1970s, Science editor, Allen Hammond, took a calculated risk. Instead of relying on the same mediocre generalists to cover science news, he started hiring PhDs. He reasoned that the scientific experts could learn to write and write better science stories.
Before long, articles about organ transplants, pollution, and recombinant DNA captured the public imagination. During the 1980s and 1990s, a "golden age" of science writing burgeoned. Then, along came the internet.
Within a matter of years, the ecology of traditional science journalism dried up.
What do I mean by dried up? In 1989, there were 95 American newspapers with weekly science news sections. By 2012, that number dropped to just 19.
Fortunately, that's not the whole story when it comes to science writing and the internet. Let's take a closer look at how the internet continues to reshape science writing, providing exciting, non-traditional platforms such as planksip for budding authors.
The Brave New World of the Science Writer
Plenty of nostalgia surrounds the so-called "golden age " of science writing in the 1980s and 1990s. And it's true that if you were a science writer at the time, you would have undoubtedly experienced a freefall with the advent of the internet.
While the internet took away many professional outlets for journalists, it replaced them a thousandfold. Today, there has never been a broader landscape for science writers and content curators.
These journalists and scientists populate a brave new world of blogs, websites, e-publications, and even print issues about science. However, it's worth noting that when we talk about science writing today, it involves more than merely putting words on paper.
As content creators, science writers generate a wide array of materials, from "whiteboard" lectures to podcasts, animations, slide shows, and more. In other words, if you know where to look, opportunities prove both interactive and endless.
Finding Your Way and Making Money
Trying to find your way (while making money) amid these opportunities can prove tricky. There have never been more places to write about science. Yet, it's also more challenging to find well-paid, stable positions.
What's more, the internet has blurred the lines between public information, independent journalism, public relations, and private interest. What to do?
Instead of ruminating over the lost ecosystem of the 1980s and the 1990s, find your community and start producing the kind of peer-reviewed work that garners attention and a steady paycheck. That's where planksip's Science Journalism Program comes into play.
Let's explore how this platform is revolutionizing how science writers interact, publish work, and receive compensation.
Utilizing a Surefire Platform for Success
Instead of perceiving the internet as the destructor of quality science journalism, you must explore the opportunities that have emerged. That said, not all of these opportunities are created equal. As Hamlet once put it, "Ay, there's the rub."
Plenty of platforms underpay writers. And, as freelance positions, they lack stability, leaving writers to live pitch to pitch. This system can make science writers feel at odds with one another, vying for the same few breadcrumbs.
How do you find a site where you can write about philosophy, biology, quantum physics, and more while earning money? How do you build a network of like-minded colleagues along the way? Innovative platforms like planksip provide the answer.
At planksip, you'll peer review and rank one another's work. As your writing improves and you garner more considerable attention from your peers, you'll also have the opportunity to receive high-level compensation.
If you're longing to test your dynamic ability and thrive in the chaos of harmonic structures, there's no better place. Let's explore ten reasons why it might be right for you.
1. Stand on the Shoulders of Giants
From why volcanoes explode to how neurons fire, you've learned it all. But do you understand what science writers actually do?
It's time to take the advice of Sir Isaac Newton by "standing on the shoulders of Giants." Nothing happens in a vacuum. The same goes for developing fantastic science writing skills.
Start by reading their work. Devour literature reviews, recent journal articles, and publications such as the Science Writers' Handbook.
Don't neglect online science articles, either. Writing for the internet represents a different ballgame. Articles tend to be shorter (anywhere between 500 to 1,000 words), yet they must be relevant, highly readable, and uber-engaging. Then again, who am I to say? You will be judged by your peers, not me.
Mastering digital science writing means following and emulating the work of others. A platform such as planksip facilitates this real-world education through peer review and digital publication.
2. Embrace a Self-Correcting Process
Carl Sagan got it right when he noted, "Science is a self-correcting process. To be accepted, new ideas must survive the most rigorous standards of evidence and scrutiny."
When it comes to making it as a science writer, your work must also stand up to these rigorous standards. That's why the peer review process remains so critical to growth and development in the field. So does constructing a network of colleagues.
Planksip puts you on the fast track when it comes to networking and embracing a self-correcting process. It will help you forge valuable relationships essential to your success as a science writer.
3. Take the Strange and Make It Familiar
Reading the work of others and building a network of colleagues will only take you so far when establishing a career as a science writer. Most importantly, you must get in the trenches and start writing.
Science writing, like other forms of writing, requires copious amounts of practice. It also requires what Carl Zimmer refers to as "deprogramming."
What does Zimmer mean? It's time to get real for a minute.
Scientists sometimes forget how to speak English. They get so caught up in scientific jargon and language that they leave the readers behind. Miles behind.
Sure, jargon is convenient in conversations among colleagues. But when it comes to effectively communicating scientific discoveries and ideas to the public? You must cultivate an accessible voice.
As George Johnson of the New York Times put it, "Take the strange and make it familiar." How do you develop this ease of jargon-free communication? By writing every single day.
With planksip, you'll gain the motivation you need to make writing a daily practice. The platform's network of authors and competitive peer-review model will push you to achieve your best work.
4. Learn to Write for Your Audience
Only through practice will you hone the ability to translate a scientist's work into metaphors and analogies that speak to readers. And the audience means everything.
After all, writing for academic journals won't help you draft more accessible writing.
As veteran science author Marcia Bartusiak puts it, "The goal in science writing is not to teach science but to take away the fear factor." Developing the right voice requires a platform where you can practice, grow, and write for the public.
The planksip platform lets you do this. Not only will you write more, but you'll write better. It provides a stage where you can hone your ability to speak to a lay audience in meaningful, engaging, and educational ways.
5. Get the Support You Need
The academic publishing world couldn't be more different than the online publishing world. Academic publications move at a glacial pace. And they often reward writing that's painfully complicated and loaded with jargon.
It's this same jargon that you must dive into and fearlessly translate for your readers to make it as a science writer. Yet, taking the leap can feel highly intimidating.
Most graduate students get conditioned to believe that anything other than tenure track is a failure. Going out on a limb can feel like giving up.
As a result, you need a community where you feel included, appreciated, and inspired. The freelancer publication mill isn't that place. Fortunately, the planksip platform was designed to give science writers a leg up, providing the support they need to hone their craft.
The planksip focus on pre-publishing, peer-review community building, marketing, and mentorship will provide you with the resources and tools you need to grow.
6. Embrace the Creative Process of Science
As molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn argues, "We sometimes forget about the creative part of science. I think you need time to daydream, to let your imagination take you where it can."
In other words, you need an environment where you can experiment and play. Otherwise, if you're like many scientists and writers, you may have trouble jumping over the shadow of perfectionism.
If you're a writer who wants to move forward and advance, planksip is for you. You'll receive training and access to a variety of helpful technologies, from TextExpander to a mneumonic recall app called the Gadfly (currently in developement). Did I mention that the membership also includes unlimited digital publishing?
The model for writing assignments will keep you grounded in penning readable, captivating work while establishing a reliable income as long as you consistenty win small group compititions based on group sizes of twelve (12). All things being equal, which we know they are not, your chance of winning is one in twelve (ie. 1/12). Gain the creative space to let your imagination run wild while remaining rooted in the best practices of scientific inquiry and written communication.
7. Illuminate the World
The world has cultivated a stereotype of scientists as solitary geniuses, toiling away in virtual isolation. But science has and always will remain a communal (and global) activity.
As early as the 1600s, scientific societies began emerging across Europe. For more than two centuries, these societies and their publications provided the primary communication networks for scientists and their work.
No wonder Louis Pasteur observed, "Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world."
The planksip model draws inspiration from those first scientific societies, infusing the concept with the benefits of modern technology. The result? The support and sense of community you need for growth coupled with the latest and greatest tools for disseminating your work.
8. Explore the Universe
As a science writer, you must remain curious and continuously in a state of exploration. After all, Edwin Powell Hubble defined science as the exploration of the universe by humans using their five senses.
To spur you in this direction, planksip rewards discovery and curiosity. As you take part in writing competitions and learn from fellow authors, you'll push the envelope to develop your career and skillset.
You'll also have a platform where you can regularly publish your work, expanding your readership while exploring the universe.
9. Gain Competitive Research Skills
Like a regular writing practice, you must hone your research skills as a science writer. Whether you come from a journalistic or scientific background, learning how to research various subjects effectively will prove fundamental to your career.
As Albert Szent-Györgyi put it, "Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought."
With planksip, you'll have the motivation and support you need to research and write about science in unique ways. As you review the work of fellow authors, you'll gain new insights into the creative process. In turn, you'll bring science to life for your audience. At this point it would be ideal to bring up the pre editorial process and snippets tools that are made available for all our planksip journalists.
The real-world writing and research experience that you'll gain is unparalleled, not to mention the new and novel approach will give you more time to write and less time caught in editoral peratory. Best yet, you'll cultivate a readership and the respect of your peers along the way.
10. Get Compensated for Your Work
With planksip, you'll have the opportunity to build a network of peers, establish a readership, and develop the skills required to be a fantastic science writer. Last but not least, you'll have weekly opportunities to get compensated for your efforts.
So many freelance writing gigs today underpay writers, if they pay at all. "Exposure to your work" has become a common form of compensation. While exposure's all well and good, it doesn't put food on the table.
But planksip's journalist program will. Yes, you'll pay upfront for membership, but these monthly fees ensure the highest level of compensation for top quality work. As you evolve as a writer, you'll have consistent chances to earn an income doing what you love while gaining exposure.
Because of the subscription model, planksip can offer ongoing and reliable income to high-performing authors.
With membership, you'll enjoy book review assignments, mentorship, and graduated ranking of achievement. You'll also benefit from small group peer-reviewed competitions with prizes of $500 or more. Book a call with planksip's founder, Daniel Sanderson, to learn more.
Do What You Love and Get Paid
As you can see, there's no better place to launch your career as a science writer than planksip. What are you waiting for?
Learn more about the planksip publishing model and the many benefits that will help you reach your potential, whether you're a physics writer or more interested in philosophy deep dives.