I got lots of enquiries from people, often early-career scientists or PhD students, who are interested in science writing and newsletters. Here are some replies.  Keep in mind this is just my opinion, and be sure to follow your own instincts!

I consider myself a journalist first and foremost — although I love science (of course!) and recognize the value of sharing research with non-scientists, I consider my role as that of a ‘critical friend’ who is here to report (e.g. question and dig into) the scientific claims, not just repeat them in simple terms or translate them. So do read my answers with that in mind! There are also lots of jobs that are about translating or communicating science, without the same obligations and approaches that journalists use — we call those ‘science communicators’ — and that includes things like working in the press office of a university or doing educational outreach. There are also roles like data journalism, opinion writing and subediting.

Check out this article from the fabulous Open Notebook:

If you’re at a university or institution, participate in the student media, such as the student paper or TV channel. Student journalism is very well respected and a great place to learn and practice the craft. Also start doing some writing yourself, in whatever form works for you (social media, blog….). The biggest difference between a successful science writer and the rest is that you are actually writing, not just thinking or talking about it.

Freelance work is often easier to get than a full-time position, especially when you’re getting started. Learn to pitch your work to editors. (More from the Open Notebook: Offer specific story ideas, not nebulous offers of contributions, and don’t forget to include specific, well-chosen examples (“clippings”) of previously published work. If you haven’t been published yet, there are lots of free publications or website that might take your submissions, or you could even start your own blog in order to have something to show. Try to get paid, but never pay to have your work published.

The work is out there, if you have the talent, so don’t give up! Focus on doing the work, and getting published wherever you can, not waiting for the perfect job to come along. Have fun!