Week Six: The Fourth of July

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Sunday, July 11, 2021


Madison Brewer

Thanks to the Fourth of July, this week was short. The four days flew by, but that might have more to do with the fact that I was really busy. And my second story was published this week!

On Tuesday, I interviewed two researchers for one of my stories. They were really nice and had a lot to say. A writer’s ideal interviewee talks as much as they can. The more your subject talks, the more information (and quotes!) you can get out of them. This makes writing the final piece much easier. After the interview, I typed up all the best quotes. It ended up filling nearly three pages! But I think it's better to type up more quotes than you need because it gives you more liberty in choosing quotes. Nothing is worse than realizing you need to go back to the recording and listen for another quote. 

Once my quotes were transcribed, it was time to write. Writing the story was much easier once I had material to work with. As I wrote, I kept the quotes in mind. Suddenly, good spots for quotes started jumping out at me. My writing was flowing. 

I attended a “water cooler talk” on Wednesday. These are designed to maintain the social aspect of the office while we’re virtual. I was really nervous it was going to be awkward. And it was a little bit. But I really enjoyed it! It was nice to understand the PT team as people, not just writers or editors or whatever they are. I think I’m going to another one next week, but now I’m not as worried about it. 

On Thursday, I met Maura at the art museum cafe to work. Unfortunately, we had not considered that there would be a lot of people, you know, visiting the museum. We were there right at the lunch rush, so it was really busy. Plus I later found out that there are discounts and free events Thursday evenings. 

In the evening, we had our internship Fourth of July picnic! The event started with a talk from former congressman Rush Holt. He was really nice and had a lot to say about science policy. I could tell the science policy interns were very excited to meet him. I asked him about how he saw his role in the chain of science communication, which I don’t think he was expecting. After that, we played jackbox games. I did surprisingly well! (The last time we played I nearly came in last.)

Friday was more of the same old work day. Not much interesting happened, and I got a lot done. I finished piecing together my story from the interview. On Monday I have a lot of editing to do. Even though the draft is done, I know it needs some work. Mostly small details like transitions and flow, but work nonetheless. I’m excited to tackle some tasks next week, especially ones for an event I’m covering. Reporter is a bit of a different hat than science writer, but I am ready to wear it.


Madison Brewer (she/her)