Joining the blogosphere, but Science News--style.
For some time now, blogs have been all the rage among people who consider them the 21st century reincarnation of journalism. For those who fondly remember the real journalism of the 20th century, though, blogs are the equivalent of an alien invasion of the body snatchers.
But just like Kevin McCarthy in the original film, some have railed against bloggery. Whatever merits these online dispatches might have, they're no more a substitute for actual journalism than talk radio is for Walter Cronkite. Many blogs are platforms for personal prejudices, not fair and informative reports.
There are, of course, exceptions. One appearing on the Science News website is reporter Janet Raloff's "Science & the Public," where she regularly covers matters of science policy that fall outside the realm of straightforward research news. Soon Janet's blog will be joined by others that will similarly exploit the blog format to offer website visitors the perspective and insight of Science News reporters.
Already one new blog has debuted on the website. Called "On the Scene," it consists of firsthand observations from SN writers attending scientific conferences or other events. Some entries will report on presentations not covered in news stories; others will offer some of the back story of what goes on at scientific meetings. You'll find reports from the recent Society for Neuroscience annual meeting, for example, and from a symposium sponsored by the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.
Plans are for yet another blog to appear soon. It will offer the science news equivalent of movie outtakes, informing readers about some of the science that didn't get reported. Each week Science News considers dozens of scientific papers and reports for possible coverage; typically only 15 to 20 stories appear on the website and fewer still fit in print. This new blog will allow Science News writers to briefly discuss some of the items that didn't make the cut, or in some cases explain why stories reported elsewhere were not deemed worthy of Science News.
Although these new additions to the website will be designated as "blogs," they will continue to observe the journalistic standards for accurate, reliable and credible reporting that Science News will always uphold, no matter what century it is.
--Tom Siegfried, Editor in Chief