How She Got There: Loren Grush, Science Reporter at The Verge

Name:  Loren Grush
Age: 29
Job Title and Description: Science Reporter focusing on space travel, space policy, astronomy and more
College Major: University of Texas at Austin / Broadcast Journalism and Government double major
Website: The Verge 
Twitter Handle: @lorengrush
Instagram Handle: @grushcrush

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day? 

LG: I haven’t had a “typical day” since I started working after college, which is one of the main reasons I love what I do. Each week changes depending on the types of news and events I expect to happen in the coming days. I alternate between writing stories on new space discoveries and hitting breaking news and in-depth analysis pieces on NASA and the commercial space industry. When I’m not writing, I’m filming videos on astronomy and space travel. And then every month or so, I travel to major events, like rocket launches or space conferences.

What is the best part of your job?

LG: I absolutely love traveling to film for my show Space Craft. Unlike breaking news events, we can take our time with the production and post-production of the show, which allows us to really sink our teeth into the stories we’re trying to tell. And the show takes us to some really unique places, where I get to perform the weirdest tasks — from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, to practice spacewalk training in virtual reality, to the University of North Dakota to try on working space suits. I know each trip is always going to be an invigorating experience. 

What was your first job in your field and how did you get it? 

LG: My very first job was managing a block of entertainment programming at my college television station, Texas Student Television. I got the job after being a part-time producer for an entertainment news show, called Sneak Peek. That job really prepared me for meeting deadlines, since the shows had to be ready to go at a hard time each week. Otherwise, we didn’t have anything to air.

What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?

LG: When I first started work at my current job, my editor lamented the fact that a lot of space reporting is like cheerleading—essentially celebrating successful discoveries and praising companies without much analysis. While acknowledging success is still a big part of my job, I always try to remember that I’m not a cheerleader for the people I write about. Just like any other industry, the space industry and NASA are capable of making unwise decisions, too, and I’m not afraid to call out mistakes when I see them. Being critical doesn’t always make me popular, but I think it’s a key part of my profession, and I strive to never blindly believe the things that people are telling me.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it? 

LG: After working the same beat for so long, I sometimes make an assumption that I’ve recalled a fact correctly from a previous article without double checking. And that always leads to the dreaded correction update for a story. Although I feel like I know quite a bit about space news, it’s still a very complicated beat, ranging from astronomy and engineering to politics and business. Even the most seasoned space reporter can still get things wrong, and the more experience a person gets doesn’t mean the fundamental (and annoying) reporting basics shouldn’t be covered. So my biggest mantra now? Never assume that you absolutely know something.

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far? 

LG: By far, it was experiencing zero gravity on Space Craft. For our season finale, we filmed on a parabolic flight with the Zero-G Corporation (nicknamed the Vomit Comet). The plane flies a series of peaks and valleys in order to give passengers about 30-second increments of weightlessness. And it was by far one of the coolest things I have ever done. A lot of my feelings are echoed in the episode, but it’s hard to describe the feeling of suddenly turning upside down and then “standing” on the ceiling of an airplane.

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations? 

LG: My advice is always to embrace what makes you unique, and ignore people who say you’re not on the right path. I’ve been told by a lot of different people that I don’t have certain qualities that I’m supposed to have to do my job. A few people have made comments that my background isn’t ideal, and many have thought it was weird that I wanted to concentrate solely on space. But I stuck with it, and after a lot of hard work, I secured the job I’ve always wanted. 

Fill out my online form.