blogs

 

Help Me Help a Great Science Blog Become Self-Sustaining

Posted 3 January 2014 by Matt Shipman

This is a post about a problem that I am hoping you, dear readers, will help solve. Namely, how can a creative, dynamic blog that started as a pet project evolve into an entity that is self-supporting? (And no, I’m not talking about myself.) One of the science blogs I fell in love with last year was Buzz Hoot Roar, which marries short blog posts with wonderful art to tell people about science. The blog is a labor of love,... Read more

One More Bad (Bug) Science Pitch

Posted 9 September 2013 by Matt Shipman

I recently ran a post on what we can learn from bad pitches that public relations (PR) folks make to science reporters. I asked science writers to send me some bad pitches they received (and there were some doozies), but couldn’t find room for them all. Here’s one that’s worth highlighting. Gwen Pearson is better known in the science writing community as Bug Girl. An entomologist, science communicator and prodigious blogger, she has shared her love for the insect world... Read more

Embargoes and Retractions: an Interview with Ivan Oransky, Part Two

Posted 25 July 2013 by Matt Shipman

In the second part of my interview with Ivan Oransky, we talk about what led to his founding of Embargo Watch and co-founding of Retraction Watch – as well as the Ingelfinger Rule, what he looks for in a medical reporter and what you can learn from grad students. The first part of the interview can be found here. CB: You started at Reuters Health in 2009, and I’m guessing that being executive editor took up an enormous amount of... Read more

Run Home to Start Writing: an Interview with Ivan Oransky, Part One

Posted 24 July 2013 by Matt Shipman

From family practice to cancer research, there are many career paths open to medical doctors. But few take the path chosen by Ivan Oransky, who became a journalist after earning his M.D. Oransky has worked for news outlets from Scientific American to Reuters Health, and has most recently taken a position as global editorial director for the online news service MedPage Today. Somehow, he’s also found time to create two blogs, Retraction Watch and Embargo Watch, that focus on little-discussed... Read more

Don’t Panic: Challenges Regarding Science, News and Comments Online

Posted 7 January 2013 by Matt Shipman

A recent “Perspectives” commentary in Science on the importance of online science news – and associated challenges – has (unsurprisingly) gotten a fair amount of attention in the science communication community. Not all of it good. But I think that, at the very least, it presents a good opportunity to lay out some of those challenges and, hopefully, spark a productive discussion about how to address them. The commentary also refers to a forthcoming paper on the impact of online... Read more

Matter’s Growing Pains, and the Value of Preparation

Posted 20 November 2012 by Matt Shipman

This is more of a note than a fully evolved post, but it’s a good reminder of the value of preparation. I’m talking about the recent (very public) growing pains of Matter – a new, online outlet for publishing long-form, independent journalism that focuses on various aspects of science and/or technology. I love the idea behind Matter, which published its first story this month, in large part because I love long-form articles when they’re done well. They are captivating. However,... Read more

Oops: How to Recover From a Mistake

Posted 19 November 2012 by Matt Shipman

Assuming you are a human, you are going to make mistakes. But if you’re a reporter, blogger or PIO, those mistakes can be public. And embarrassing. So how do you recover gracefully, or at least with as little damage as possible to your reputation? Here’s the short answer: admit your mistake as early as possible; never make excuses; and do not make the same mistake again. The problem with excuses When someone makes a mistake, their first reaction is often... Read more

Communication 101

Posted 5 November 2012 by Matt Shipman

If we’re going to be talking about science communication, it's worthwhile to have a brief overview of communication basics. I have a hunch I'll be linking back to this post a lot. Step One: Know Your Audience Who, exactly, are you trying to reach? This is the first step because it will affect everything else you do. For example, if you are an entomologist, and you want to reach an audience of your fellow entomologists, you can write in technical... Read more

Why I Think Ditching Embargoes Was a Good Move by eLife

Posted 31 October 2012 by Matt Shipman

A new, open-access journal called eLife released its “media policy” earlier this week – including a promise to not issue embargoed news releases and language encouraging researchers to make their accepted manuscripts available to the public in advance of publication. I think this is a good move. As I read the eLife policy, the look on my face must have gone from neutral, to guarded optimism, to enthusiasm – then back to guarded optimism as I re-read the policy to... Read more

Unconventional Metrics: How Can I Tell If My Blog Is Working?

Posted 28 October 2012 by Matt Shipman

So you started a blog to give yourself a place to write about science. You’re using social media to push your posts out, and you know that some people are reading them. But how can you tell if you’re reaching the people you want to reach? And, more importantly, are you any closer to achieving your communication goals? On Oct. 27, I was part of a panel at the National Association of Science Writers meeting in Raleigh, N.C., that addressed... Read more