While the exact tasks performed by a science journalist may vary, usually depending on particular assignments or sources of employment, there are some duties common among these journalists. In general, this type of journalist writes articles that relay scientific information to the general public in a way that is easily understandable. This typically involves a fair amount of research and a strong understanding of scientific principals and findings. Much like other journalists, a science journalist typically checks any facts or research he or she is reporting about to ensure accuracy and factual reporting whenever possible.
A science journalist, sometimes also called a science writer, is someone who writes for a news outlet, usually a newspaper or magazine, and covers scientific stories. He or she usually has a background in journalism, typically a college degree, and an interest in and understanding of various scientific fields. While it is not necessary for this type of journalist to have a degree in a scientific area, he or she typically has a general background in science. This often allows a science journalist to better perform the various functions of his or her job.
One of the major duties of a science journalist is writing stories for news outlets that report about scientific research or discoveries. This usually begins with the journalist looking through scientific periodicals or online databases to see what reports have been released dealing with scientific subjects. The journalist determines what discoveries may have an impact on the lives of those outside of the scientific community, and then writes on those studies. This usually involves a great deal of research by the science journalist, and journalists who fail to perform this research are often criticized by other journalists and scientists.
Once the research is complete, a science journalist typically writes a news story about the subject. This may be published in a newspaper or magazine, or on an Internet website such as an online news outlet or a blog, or it may be used as a script for news anchors to read while broadcasting. Regardless of the format used, however, this writing should serve to help people without a background in science to better understand the findings of research. Since the science journalist is reporting on what others have done, however, there is the potential for opinion or bias to be introduced into the story; when this occurs, there is typically a negative response from the scientific and journalistic communities.