My writing specialty when I got started was explaining technical and scientific topics for lay audiences, which served me well when I applied for a “tech transfer” job at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. (Tech transfer: publishing — “transferring” — JPL’s basic technical research to industry or the public.)
This was written for a class in journalism school. In another example of my model of “write once, publish again and again,” once it was written for my professor, I then tried to sell it to a magazine, but failed.
Then an earthquake triggered a tsunami in Alaska that threatened the entire Pacific basin. I quickly updated the article and marketed it again, this time quickly selling it to Westways magazine for their October 1986 issue. In a stroke of great timing, it came out the day before I interviewed at JPL, and I was able to hand over the magazine and say “Here’s a recent article I wrote.”
The interviewer merely glanced at it, and said, “I read that at home last night. It was very good.” I got the job.
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