What better way for Elizabeth Eaton to practice science journalism than at Science News.
The graduating senior landed an internship at the acclaimed Washington, D.C.-based magazine, starting in January. That means she “will be right in the middle of things during the new presidency,” she said.
“I’ve never been to D.C., so I’m looking forward to exploring a new place, and especially a place so full of history,” Eaton said. “The newsroom is a 20-minute walk from the White House.”
Eaton, who grew up in Seattle, said she will do a lot of short stories for the Science News website on new research — and her goal “is to have a big science feature spread in the magazine before the end of the internship.”
Journalist Edward W. Scripps and zoologist William Emerson Ritter founded Science Service in 1921 and a newsletter in 1926 to inform the public of scientific achievements. Science News-Letter became Science News in 1966, and the magazine’s online component began in 1996. It attracts nearly eight million unique Web viewers annually.
“Elizabeth Eaton is a star in the science journalism constellation,” UA Assistant Professor Susan E. Swanberg said. “What distinguishes Elizabeth is that she has an unbounded curiosity and a willingness to explore and take risks. She pays attention to the small details that make a story great.”
Eaton worked with Swanberg as editor of SciView magazine, which is put out by students in the school’s science journalism classes. Eaton had the cover story on a UA anthropology researcher: “Tracking down a mysterious people, one pot at a time.” Eaton and students on the magazine also told their stories on an episode of “Arizona Illustrated” on PBS 6 TV.
“After taking Professor Swanberg’s class, I learned that a lot of journalism in that area is done poorly, and the effect that has on the public is huge,” Eaton said. “… I want to help turn science journalism back into a respected field and not allow poor journalism to encourage anti-vaxxers or climate-change deniers anymore.”
This semester, Eaton did double duty as managing editor of the Tombstone Epitaph and as the NASA Space Grant research scholar at the Arizona Daily Star, where she wrote about the UA-led OSIRIS-Rex mission to collect samples of an asteroid and other stories on science and the environment.
“I think my extensive newsroom experience made me stand out,” Eaton said about landing the Science News internship, “as well as my passion for doing science journalism correctly.”
Eaton also wrote for the Star in the spring as a features apprentice, then worked as a reporter at the Arizona Republic as a prestigious Pulliam Fellow in the summer.
“We’re very proud of Elizabeth and all that she has accomplished as a young journalist,” Associate Professor Carol Schwalbe said. “Science News is a plum internship — one that will undoubtedly lead to a great career.”
As for that career, Eaton said she isn’t sure if she wants to concentrate only on science journalism.
“I feel like I have a lot of experience doing a ton of different things in journalism — food, environment, energy, immigration, education — that I don't want to just pick one,” Eaton said. “I’m just going to see what direction I go in next after Science News. I’ve always wanted to try travel writing.”