Some well-respected publications (which shall remain nameless) are pretty bad at getting money to freelancers in a timely fashion. I dont think there are excuses for this, especially when other publications manage it very easily. BenchFly: Entering graduate school in Chemistry at Cambridge University, did you have a particular career path in mind? Katharine Sanderson: I thought I was going to be an academic, a chemist.
I should have made more of being at Cambridge and writing for various departmental, college and University publications. Maybe I should have skipped the PhD and done the Imperial College Masters in science communication. The pressure as a freelancer is different to that as a staff reporter. Its about wanting to be true to yourself. Finding out what it is that you really care about, or want to write about is a difficult journey, but very fulfilling. Thrown in at the deep end, I had to learn fast and the small team put in some very long hours to get those first few issues of the magazine out. However, those positions have been rapidly disappearing and are likely to continue to do so. Radio and TV stations and networks employ very few science writers, and entry-level correspondents who do work in such media are usually general assignment reporters making about 40,000/year. Days after landing from a year of backpacking, I had the interview at the RSC and got the job. I wasnt a science journalist yet, but that change came after a year or so when I was seconded to work on a seriously understaffed and relaunching magazine, Chemistry World.