Krishna Sharma   |   8/ 31/ 2021   |   Reading Time: 3 Minutes

"Your Peers Really Celebrate Your Successes, Even if They Just Met You!"

Unsplash; Alex Ip for The Xylom/The Xylom Illustration

 

We asked a number of AAAS Mass Media Fellows (AAASMMF) to reflect on what they have learned, how they have changed, and why it matters. The journal below by Krishna Sharma, who is placed at the Miami Herald, has been lightly edited. Read Part 1 and Part 2, in addition to our other journals by fellow AAASMMFs Vanessa Vieites and Haley Dunleavy.

 


August 2

Sending pitches, applying to jobs, freelance writing, plus writing for the AAAS. All while trying to network and keep a house running. Honestly, I am just in the complaining type mood lately.


I know people with kids doing science writing have it way more intense than I. Or multiple jobs and whatnot. But still, maybe some venting is healthy.


August 3

My editor is very backed up, so I’ve just been waiting on feedback for two stories. Lucky for me, it gives me breathing room to work on other things in life. Funny how fluid the workload is for this kind of career.

Sadly, no jobs have panned out for me yet. I’ll keep applying and hope something sticks soon. Come September, I think I’ll be both freelancing and applying for jobs.


Sadly, no jobs have panned out for me yet. I’ll keep applying and hope something sticks soon. Come September, I think I’ll be both freelancing and applying for jobs.

August 5

Went to a D.C. Science Writing Association meeting last night. And met some extremely impressive people. Like the guy who’s been the NPR science correspondent for almost 30 years and founded NPR Scicommers! Among other notable people. Wow. D.C. is an amazing place for this career. One of my favorite things about the science writing community is it’s so friendly and surprisingly non-competitive — as in, your peers really celebrate your successes, even if they just met you!


August 6

Still waiting for edits for my Herald articles. Refining my freelance article heavily though. I’m getting paid very well for the article, and it’s an incredible learning experience for long-form journalism.


I’ve applied to 23 jobs since starting this fellowship — I keep an Excel sheet of it all. One interview went to rejection. One interview on Monday. The rest are either rejections or floating in limbo.


5 minutes later: Make that 2 interviews next week!


August 10

While I am a published photographer, working remotely means I need a local Miami photographer to do the heavy lifting for me. Trying to schedule an assignment but the comms person on the other end has been so terrible at responding for over a week! It’s crazy being the person between the university comms person who is trying to organize for a professor, and between a staff person here who is trying to organize with a photographer, and one of those people just not responding. New stress I haven’t had to deal with before, guess it’s educational though.


It’s crazy being the person between the university comms person who is trying to organize for a professor, and between a staff person here who is trying to organize with a photographer, and one of those people just not responding.


Krisha poses with Alex Ip, Editor In Chief of The Xylom, in Chinatown, Washington D.C., on August 11th, 2021. (Alex Ip for The Xylom)


August 12

Second to last day at the fellowship!! I cannot believe how quickly it blew by. This was honestly a life-changing experience and I am so grateful I did it. I found fulfillment in my work, emotional fulfillment in the peers and mentors I met, and really feel set up to do science writing full time.


August 13

Last day! I’m editing my final and fourth piece. Both of my last two pieces will actually run after my fellowship ends, but I’m happy to keep in touch and see them through to completion. Luckily the last two will also be on the front page of special issue Miami Herald editions! A sad day. But I feel optimistic about my future. My warmest thanks to the staff at the Miami Herald, my cohort of Mass Media Fellows, and the staff at the AAAS for this truly transformational experience.


This was an incredibly dense crash course into science journalism and seems to have successfully prepared me for a future in it. As a testament, I have had five job interviews in the last two weeks, and I hope to have more as I cement myself in the world of science communication and journalism.

Epilogue

In short, the hype is real. This was an incredibly dense crash course into science journalism and seems to have successfully prepared me for a future in it. As a testament, I have had five job interviews in the last two weeks, and I hope to have more as I cement myself in the world of science communication and journalism. Working with my amazing editor was my favorite part of the experience. Writing stories I was passionate about and saving those as clips during job applications was also incredible. And then feeling a genuine sense of community with my cohort is something priceless. I can’t recommend this program enough!



Working for the Miami Herald was a good excuse for Krishna to visit Florida at the end of the summer and meet his former coworkers in person. (Krishna Sharma for The Xylom)

 

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Krishna Sharma

From Westford, Mass., Krishna obtained his B.S. in Biology from Boston University and headed south for his M.S. in Ecology at the University of Georgia to study the migration of butterflies along the Atlantic Coast. As aspiring poet and violinist, he is selected as a AAAS Mass Media Fellow in 2021, being placed at the Miami Herald.