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Scientific American builds novel blog network.

In July, Scientific American launched an innovative blog network that gathers a diverse lineup of bloggers covering a range of scientific topics under one banner. The Scientific American Blog Network's community of 60 bloggers provides insights into the evolving world of science and technology.

Blog editor Bora Zivkovic oversees and moderates the network in addition to his work as an established blogger responsible for A Blog Around the Clock, which focuses on chronobiology, education, and related areas. Zivkovic was instrumental in building the network over the past several months and selecting the bloggers who would take part in the network.

Zivkovic says that Scientific American wanted to build a blog network that could be integrated comfortably into its main brand. He points out that many blog networks managed by publications keep blogs separate from the main site and content.


"Scientific American wanted to integrate bloggers deeper into it," he says. "[That meant] attracting people that are professional in their outlook and putting them really under the banner of Scientific American, where the whole distinction between journalism and blogging is blurred even more."

The bloggers represent a mixture of disciplines and experience levels, ranging from graduate students to prominent experts in niche fields. Joining the network are bloggers Scott Huler (Plugged In), Darren Naish (Tetrapod Zoology), and Jennifer Ouellette (Cocktail Party Physics). Several Scientific American editorial and staff blogs are also featured in the network.

Zivkovic says he was looking for a diversity of voices from the outset. "I knew I wanted the diversity of backgrounds," he says. "Scientific American already has a lot of journalists and writers, so I didn't want to have many professional writers on it. I was going primarily for research scientists, graduate students--the people just getting out of school and exploring the possibility of becoming professional writers."

He notes that some scientific blog networks have a tendency to feature bloggers with a narrow demographic to focus on only the biggest names in a particular field. "I wanted voices that could appeal to laymen, to kids, to parents, to teachers, but also voices that appeal to academics," says Zivkovic.

Editorial independence is incredibly important to bloggers, according to Zivkovic, so this network of individual bloggers will be solely responsible for their own content. Zivkovic and Scientific American went to great lengths to carefully select bloggers who would be professional and authoritative in their writing.

"Editorial oversight happened by me over the past nine months, by carefully choosing them," says Zivkovic. "I literally looked at thousands of bloggers and I picked 42. Those are the 42 that we can trust. They can write whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want. We've brought in trustworthy people. So we don't have to edit them, we don't have to tell them what to do. They know how to do it."

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Author:Schiller, Kurt
Publication:Information Today
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2011
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