Actually, my plan was to establish myself as a freelance science journalist starting in autumn 2023 and event had set up some additional sources of income. However, things took a different turn. Within a few days, I became a member of the Tagesspiegel – a newspaper that still values science.
Sometimes things happen faster than expected. In any case, this time around things happened much faster than I ever imagined. Since June 1, 2023, I have been a member of the science editorial team at the Tagesspiegel, specifically focusing on Berlin and Brandenburg. It's been only two days, but I have already been overwhelmed with positive experiences.
The Tagesspiegel has positioned itself as a forward-thinking media company and is constantly experimenting with new formats. What's important is that it gives significant importance to science, unlike many other media outlets where research often takes a back seat to fitness or lifestyle topics. Every day, there are four pages dedicated to science in the national section, along with an additional page on health topics. On weekdays, there is a focused coverage on university policy and research in the German capital.
This focus is well-deserved because the Berlin area is not only home to renowned institutions like Charité, Humboldt University, Technical University, and Free University, but also numerous smaller universities and colleges. Moreover, there are research institutes such as Max Planck, Helmholtz, and Leibniz, a major pharmaceutical research site with Bayer, thriving startups, zoological and botanical collections, large research facilities, observatories, nature reserves, and even artists working in laboratories.
Science plays a significant role in public life, and it's only fitting for a newspaper in the capital to reflect that. The scientific community in Berlin is large, and research is a driving force for the economy, generating substantial interest in the public.
Furthermore, many regional topics can be explored from a scientific or science policy perspective. For example, studying nature in an urban setting, observing the structural changes in the Lausitz region, or analyzing the effects of climate change on the Brandenburg and the urban center in the middle of the map.
There are countless exciting topics that can be covered, which already align with my personal interests. However, my biggest area for growth lies in political reporting. While I'm familiar with institutions like the University of Potsdam and Charité, as well as the research conglomerates of Helmholtz, Max Planck, and Leibniz, from my time as a student or employee, I'm still relatively unfamiliar with the intricate power dynamics within their leadership or the discussions surrounding new policies.
However, my role in the editorial team is not limited to writing articles. Instead, I will be involved in various aspects of the work, including topic planning, supporting external authors, and even assisting with page production. I'm looking forward to gaining these valuable experiences and being a supportive team member. Being part of a team again already feels amazing.
I don't need to mention the many benefits of a permanent position in industry, such as a stable income, paid vacation, and employer contributions. I was fortunate enough to bypass the complexities of dealing with the employment agency since I seamlessly transitioned from my previous job to the new one. Being able to cancel the first appointment with the “Amt”, which was communicated in the typical passive-aggressive manner, brought me a great deal of satisfaction.
As natural scientists, my collaegaues and I may have somewhat of a unique status within the company. The majority of employees seem to have a background in humanities with expertise in philosophy, politics, history, and literature. It's an unfamiliar yet intriguing environment for me, to be surrounded by so many classically trained brilliant minds.
Also, my background in science PR is rather unconventional. Normally, the path between journalism and public relations is a one-way street. However, I have always been passionate about communicating science: whether through my blog, working as a writer at the Max Delbrück Center, or serving as a press officer at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics. I have never been drawn to the marketing aspects of these positions. It's likely that I will have to disclose my previous employers when writing about them, but that is only fair to the readers.
In the upcoming weeks, I will embrace whatever comes my way and try not to put too much pressure on myself. I was ready for an adventure, and that's exactly what I expect!