Following the success of the Boston Naturejobs Career Expo journalism competition (you can read all the articles from the competition in the #NJCEBoston category), we have decided to repeat it for the London Expo, which takes place on 19th September 2014 at the Business Design Centre in Islington.
We are looking for five budding science writers to help us with our coverage of the Naturejobs Career Expo conference sessions and workshops. The conference will explore career paths in industry, academia and science communication, entrepreneurship, structuring a CV and transferable skills, amongst other things. The five winners will have the opportunity to attend the Expo and write up at least two of the sessions or workshops for our readers, sharing the advice and expertise of the speakers with those who cannot attend in person. Winners will work closely with our editors, and their articles will be published on the Naturejobs blog.
The competition is open to all unpublished*, currently enrolled undergraduate, graduate or postgraduate science students and working post docs working in either the natural sciences, clinical sciences, physical sciences, life sciences or science communication (need a science background). You don’t have to be UK based, but do keep in mind that we cannot cover travel expenses (see below).
All you need to do to enter the competition and stand a chance of being a journalist with Naturejobs for the day is to send us the following:
1) A cover letter explaining why you want to be considered and what would make you a good journalist.
2) Your CV.
3) A 600 word answer to one of the following topics:
Are there too many PhDs?
How to bounce back from grant application rejections.
The ideal environment for a scientist to work in.
Importance of science communication.
Becoming a mentor.
The prizes are:
1) The 5 winning and 5 runner-up entries will be posted on the Naturejobs blog before the event.
2) The 10+ winning articles will be published on the Naturejobs blog after the event.
3) Winners will work with, and meet, some NPG editors.
4) The 5 winners will get a one year free subscription to Nature magazine.
5) The 5 winners will also get a £50/$100 Amazon voucher.
The things you need to know BEFORE entering the competition:
1) We cannot offer travel grants or cover travel expenses to the event of any kind. Instead we offer some great prizes, along with the opportunity of having your pieces published on the Naturejobs blog.
2) The competition entries and content created will be used on the Naturejobs blog and in marketing materials for the Naturejobs Career Expo.
3) The deadline for sending in your competition entries is August 1st 2014 at 9pm GMT/5PM EST.
4) You can send your competition entries to Julie, the Naturejobs editor at Julie.gould [at] nature.com.
The 5 winners from the Boston event (Scott Chimileski, Saheli Sadanand, Prital Patel, Lynn Kimlicka and Aliyah Weinstein) had a great time, and relished the opportunity to meet some of the speakers and act as a journalist for the day.
One of the exciting things about this competition is that the winners will work with an NPG editor to polish their articles prior to posting on the Naturejobs blog. Lynn found it an interesting insight into the editorial process, and learned a lot, “including my bad writing habits.” She intends to put these insights to good use in future writing assignments.
Aliyah particularly liked working with the editor, as “the editorial process taught me to cut a lot of my wordiness and focus on each word being important. I also learned that I need to keep better notes so that I can include even more details in my articles. The editor I worked with focused on ‘voice’ with me, and helped me transition my writing from being very technical to being more conversational.”
Prital gives some advice on entering the competitions: “Take the time out of your busy schedule to think about what you want to write about. Choose a couple of topics that you think you are most comfortable with and jot down your ideas. Come up with a couple of rough drafts and ask other members of your lab for their opinion. Start building up the piece that comes up trumps. When writing your story, keep your audience in mind. For Naturejobs, the audience is graduate students and postdocs looking for career advice — give them something useful to read.”
* A ‘published’ writer is a professional journalist or author already being paid for their work. Bloggers and student journalists are welcome to enter.