It never occurred to me that the most difficult part of this internship would be actually writing the story. Creating a story is the only part of this experience that I have a lot of practice in, everything else—going on a ship, learning about jellyfish, documenting a process through photos—is completely new. I had assumed that once I went on the cruise and collected all of my information that the story would flow right out.
Realistically, there is so much content that it’s incredibly difficult to strip it down into what’s important and engaging for a general audience. In most of my previous work, I’ve dealt with a much smaller topic or had constraints on an assignment that made the process much simpler. The amount of options I had for this story was overwhelming because there were so many different avenues to explore.
I don’t think this is a science communication specific challenge, but a challenge created by my experience level. It takes a significant amount of skill to take a large topic and break it down into the most salient, interesting parts. Going into this internship, I had no concept of what to expect, so I didn’t have a plan on how to break down the topic. It was only after I experienced the cruise and collected a massive amount of information that I started breaking it down, but at that point it’s very easy to lose your perspective of what’s important to an average reader because you’re so entrenched in it that everything feels important.
I just finished the first draft of the primary story and there are significant edits to be made. Though it’s unbelievably rough and needs some work, having the draft complete means that the most difficult part is over. Once the structure of the story is laid out, the crafting can begin.
I am a third year journalism student at the University of Oregon with a focus in traditional written journalism and interview techniques. Science communication is an underrepresented field of journalism that I’m excited to explore and produce content for through this internship.