The Sciences

Unruly Democracy: What Is Wrong (or Right) With Science Blogs?

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyApr 29, 2010 4:43 PM


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On Friday at our Harvard Kennedy School event, I'm going to be giving my rather pessimistic take--already laid out in Unscientific America, and only amplified by "ClimateGate" and other events since then--on the science blogosphere. I'll talk about how in comparison with the old media, the Internet fragments and narrows the audience for science information, even as there aren't really any norms for responsible conduct--and thus, misinformation, innuendo, and general nastiness abound. I'm sure, however, that others will have a different view. Perhaps Joe Romm will; he has just joined our roster for the event. Certainly, his blog has been a major success and demonstrates many of the upsides of science blogging. Such debate is all to the good; it's why we're having the event in the first place. Indeed, I myself will point out some clear positives when it comes to blogging about science (I'm sure you can guess many of them). But taken as a whole, are blogs broadening the conversation about science by reaching new audiences, replacing what has been lost in terms of science coverage in the old media, or elevating our general science discourse? I have to say, I'm skeptical. There is no going back from this new world, but it is important to ponder how it is currently developing. However, the purpose of the event is far broader than my particular argument. Frankly, I'm most excited about the first panel, which bring together representatives of the two big science blogging outlets and the science editor of the Boston Globe to discuss the economic end of things; to my knowledge nothing like it has happened before:

10:00-11:00 Panel 1: Blogging as Business

Henry Donahue (Discover), Gideon Gil (Boston Globe), Joy Moore (Seed)

Not to be missed. So if you haven't yet, and are in the Boston area, register for "Unruly Democracy" here


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