Blog networks

December 15, 2014

Blog networks appear to have a life cycle. Today it is Scientific American that is blowing up its blog network.

Dave Winer, one of the medium’s pioneers, once defined a blog as, “the unedited voice of a person.”


It’s an honorable notion of what a blog should be, which suits independent bloggers just fine. News outlets, however, have unique responsibilities to their readers and to the public and as such their standards must differ.

So… maybe don’t pretend to have blogs? Just call them columns like you used to?

First, we are publishing a new set of Blog Network Guidelines so that everyone, bloggers and readers alike, is fully aware of our basic operational ground rules and protocols.

To make the most of these new guidelines, we are also reshaping the network to work more closely with our blogggers, create an improved balance of topic areas and bring in some new voices.

One of those statements is believable, anyway.

On down to a comment from what I guess is a staffer?

The reduction in the size of the network is not a statement about the quality of bloggers’ work—any more than any periodic update in any magazine’s content offerings is such a statement. Our decisions involved a variety of factors, including frequency of posts and traffic.

and adherence to the new Guidelines?

ah well. Like I said at the top, networks appear to have a natural life-cycle. The ones that are tied up to a traditional publishing entity perhaps are on a short burn from the start. They are just waiting for enough little kerfuffles to build up into a profound nervousness on the part of the suits upstairs. Then down comes the hammer.

8 Responses to “Blog networks”

  1. The Other Dave Says:

    Blogging hasn’t been cool since about 2003 anyway.


  2. Davis Sharp Says:

    Odd place for the fall-out from McKnight’s “unedited voice.” I’m guessing that hits declined and revenue declined, and they’ll take a break before re-launching buzzfeed-like slide shows and click-bait.


  3. drugmonkey Says:

    Uncertain Chad looks around, notices Science Blogs had been dead for years and nobody told him


  4. As someone continuing with the SciAm network, I am not anticipating any day to day changes or editorial interference in the way I write or post.

    I am going to miss being on the network with a lot of people: there are also some positive changes in the works that I am looking forward to.


  5. Philapodia Says:

    Not on topic, but here’s a quote I found humorous from an article about Rocky’s interview at UN this week:

    “She wants your input,” he said. “She will stop and listen before making a decision and setting a policy.”



  6. drugmonkey Says:



  7. “So… maybe don’t pretend to have blogs? Just call them columns like you used to?”

    Bloggers are cheaper than columnists….


  8. […] blog editor, Curtis Brainard, while Paige Brown speculated about some of the decisions involved and DrugMonkey ponders about the life span of blog networks in general: “networks appear to have a natural […]


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