Cosmic Log - on
May 14, 2002 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Cosmic Log - on   Alan Boyle, the science editor for (and former coworker who I respect) has ventured into the land of the blogs, his being primarily science-news based. MSNBC and Alan both seem to be viewing it as an experiment, and are soliciting feedback. If you think a journalist-as-blogger is a good thing (and like the quality of the content of course), you can send feedback, or anonymously rate the page (at bottom of page).
posted by kokogiak (15 comments total)
Hmm. Ya know, a blog just doesn't look like much of a blog with MSNBC's tool bar on the side.

Also, am I a hopelessly outdated sentimental fool who is also missing the boat... and the point? Probably...
posted by RJ Reynolds at 2:32 PM on May 14, 2002

The point? Of what, this post, the blog, a journalist having a blog?

I suppose it's just a new version of the "reporter's notebook", but I can think of plenty of blogs without specific points.

At the very least if calling this a "blog" is grating, , the links and content (IMHO) are worthwhile.
posted by kokogiak at 2:36 PM on May 14, 2002

*scratches head*

I guess I'm also having trouble understanding this. I appreciate the links and content but...

If the entries were slightly longer and there were less links and the entries werent all on one page then wouldnt this simply be called a 'column'. Some line is being blurred here.

I cant help but feel that somehow he is appropriating the style and technology of blogging but not its spirit.

I have forgotten what I was saying. Or where I am going. Perhaps I too am dazed by that MSNBC toolbar.
posted by vacapinta at 3:37 PM on May 14, 2002

The total absence of personal opinion so far seems to make it not a blog but a 'column' vacapinta. What is this, 'the jury is still out on evolution' business? A *real* blog would've already come down hard on one side or the other (hopefully not 'the other,' if it's on MSNBC!). Geez. Nine out of ten Americans may think Tokyo is the capital of China but that doesn't make it so.

The reason journalists with blogs are interesting is because you get the full-frontal uncensored non-objective straight-up opinion of someone whose byline you recognize. This is total Faceless Media Blog MSNBC style.
posted by josh at 4:21 PM on May 14, 2002

Well, for what it's worth, Michael Moran, International News Senior Producer appears to be doing an MSNBC-style blog as well [link].

Josh, I wouldn't call these faceless, as they really are the products of the individual writers. If, however you aren't excited by/interested in the content, then it's merely dull, but no less valid, imho. It looks like is giving some open space to journalists to write about whatever strikes their fancy - if it's boring to you, then so be it. I find it interesting.
posted by kokogiak at 4:35 PM on May 14, 2002

I think this is pretty cool, and Slate (another Microsoft venture) just brought their writer Mickey Kaus' blog in-house. The content will sure be stickier and attract readers for longer than the regular news I think. I'm ready for Coke and Pepsi to start a bidding war over me...
posted by owillis at 4:50 PM on May 14, 2002

owillis - there has got to be a good tie-in to your britney-blog and the Pepsi angle. Coke won't know what hit 'em.
posted by kokogiak at 4:53 PM on May 14, 2002

Hey, this is the first science-news oriented blog I've seen, and it's by a journalist, who has access to information and sources that I definitely don't, but wouldn't normally be able to write about them unless they were "newsworthy." Plus, he's updating it every day -- what about the blog being fronted for by MSNBC makes it less so than any other?

Furthermore, a sufficient (but not necessary) condition for "blogdom" is being link-based (as well as being daily, etc.), which this certainly is. This is just like any topical blog on the web, as far as I can see.

By the way, anyone else know of good science-blogs?
posted by tweebiscuit at 7:15 PM on May 14, 2002

In my opinion, APOD deserves some kind of extra special award and more recognition than its gotten to date. Beautiful pictures every day. Amazing links. Intelligent commentary. Maintained by two guys who have been going at it since 1995!

It meets all the definitions of a weblog.
posted by vacapinta at 7:40 PM on May 14, 2002

tweebiscuit, surely there's something here; and several of these blogs are heavily science-news-oriented. The top-notch honeyguide has been knocking 'em out of the park since 1998, and ResearchBuzz News is weekly but worthy.
posted by dhartung at 11:08 PM on May 14, 2002

As for Boyle, a blog is a blog -- there's little constraint on the format other than time-ordered posting. Gael Fashingbauer Cooper of Pop Culture Junk Mail did "the Weblog" for the Strib, and you can see the difference -- she was always conscious of her audience on the latter, but for her personal site she was much more expressive and wide-ranging, while retaining a focus. Blog evangelists have touted the "corporate blog" from the beginning, so it's not like this is some kind of latter-day bastardization; it's certainly less problematic than the Macromedia blog business. In the end, it's just what blogs were for personal pages: a way of bringing traffic back to a site on a regular basis to see what's new.
posted by dhartung at 11:18 PM on May 14, 2002

An excellent science weblog (not mentioned in the Open Directory scienceblog list- I am amazed) is
posted by talos at 1:44 AM on May 15, 2002

tweebiscuit: The Dome of the Sky is a favorite of mine. (Although I can't seem to get to it right now--hopefully that's just temporary.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:34 AM on May 15, 2002

Some line is being blurred here.

The line has always been blurred with weblogs. There's never been a rigorous definition of weblogs where you could look at any page and definitively say "This is a weblog; that is not a weblog." I don't have a problem with that, nor do I see much point in arguing about pages in the gray area that may or may not be weblogs, depending on your definition of a weblog.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:41 AM on May 15, 2002

Aw, I got mentioned! Thanks, Dan. And ironically, I'm at now myself.

Personally, I'm going to read the Weblogs I like, whether they're run by a professional journalist (Romenesko) or not, if I find them interesting.

I convinced my bosses at the Star Trib to let me do a Weblog for them because I already had my own, and I wanted to introduce the paper, and the readers, to the concept. Then I left, and theyy haven't yet replaced the column. I think that's good--that means they didn't just go up to some random staffer and say "hey you! research this Weblog thing and see if you can do one for us." Because whenever that happens, eventually it will show, and readers will know. They'll respond by ignoring the site in droves.
posted by GaelFC at 9:42 AM on May 15, 2002

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