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Dave Mosher
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Looks like the Skloot link got stripped out in the previous comment. Here it is:
Toggle Commented Jul 12, 2010 on growing pains at Cocktail Party Physics
Nice recap Jennifer. In defense of people who are/initially were undecided about this thing: I was, at first, on the fence about this, and I call myself a part-time freelance journalist. Three reasons for my "let's wait a minute here" move: 1) I'm not a "shoot first, ask questions later" kind of person, 2) I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and 3) I'm not a member of the Sb community (a serious disadvantage in terms of keeping a pulse to things/maintaining institutional knowledge about ScienceBlogs'/Seed Media Group's previous offenses). But ultimately it became clear to me that Sb/SMG management stepped over the line -- as my twice-updated post points out (end of shameless self-promotion). Although I think the company has gained back some sizable Jenga blocks of trust in a post-Pepsigate era, it didn't change the fact that they toppled a large portion of their trust structure with that silly move (aka launching "Food Frontiers" in its initial state). Behind closed doors, I'm guessing they justified their actions pre-launch in a way similar to this: "Hey, we've had a few other corporate-sponsored blogs before, so this PepsiCo ad -- er, blog -- shouldn't peeve anyone." And that was their first mistake. In defense of the people who left immediately, they were probably: 1) more in tune with SMG's previous irritations, 2) smarter than I and 3) had a very good reason to take an immediate stand (i.e. professional journalists). So there. In my mind, the remaining question is this: Why didn't bloggers raise such a huge stink before, when other corporate-sponsored blogs were launched? I understand the format was different (i.e. guest posters wrote, not company employees), but in principle I don't see it as that much different. I feel the integrity of the content is similarly suspect in those blogs. I may have found part of an answer in the fallout (feel free to drag this conclusion into an alley and beat it up, though): 1) that whole "institutional knowledge" thing I mentioned. It seems a lot of bloggers are new, and most (of the vocal) early bloggers have left/gone by the wayside; 2) the "individual blog" nature of ScienceBlogs that Chad mentions above. For evidence, see Rebecca Skloot's comment on the Knight Science Journalism Tracker post: Can anyone here shed a more light on this question? I think there is a big lesson for all of us in it, bloggers, journalists, scientists, and readers alike. And yes, I like lists.
Toggle Commented Jul 12, 2010 on growing pains at Cocktail Party Physics
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Jul 12, 2010