Wired Science Blog Network Launches!

Wow. Wired Science has launched a blog network of six writers that looks fashioned in the mold of the Discovery Magazine blog stable. Look who's joined up.

Wired Science Blog Network

Pretty good lineup, mostly ex-Scienceblogs.com authors, looks like- Brian Romans of Clastic Detritus is the only one of the six to not previously have blogged at the Sb, as far as I know.

There's a couple of things that jump out, in addition to the WOW! factor of such interesting writers being pulled together. @KateClancy observed:

Wow, only one woman in the new Wired Science Blog network... it's like we just don't do science or write about it...


@myrmecos noted
:

@KateClancy another trend in new science blog networks is that there aren't any scientists in them, just journalists.

And naturally, your most humble narrator noticed that the lineup is kinda....pale.

Perhaps these are issues they might care to address with any subsequent recruiting they might do....

24 responses so far

  • Maryn says:

    I'll let our conveners address who is in the network, or not, and why.

    But just to point out, we're not all journalists - it's 3:3 -- me, Jonah, David; Brian, Brian, Rhett. There will be a tie-breaker shortly tipping things toward the science side.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Congrats on landing at Wired and for launching what will be a great rival for the Disco folks, Maryn.

    I’ll let our conveners address who is in the network, or not, and why

    I'm not saying we did much better at Scientopia and when you plan a low-N blog network, well, it makes it that much harder. But these issues need to remain front and center when new networks are formed and as they grow.

    it’s 3:3

    Fairly or not I think most of the blog reading world scores Laelaps as more towards the journalist side than the "active-practicing-scientist" side.

  • Marcus says:

    Here's my question. Is there any data as to the demographics of those who write science blogs? I know it's difficult to know exactly but any vague ideas at all?

    My usual reading includes a lot of women, so I get the impression that there are plenty of women science bloggers. I have no idea about "(non)paleness". That's not always obvious.

  • The same comment from SB:

    I've been to busy with the personal stuff to ever get back to the lack of diversity I mentioned at Scientopia.

    Can I say not surprised by the lack of diversity there either. Rebuttal will include:

    "Oh but wait this is just friends who like each other."
    "its nothing to do with popularity, just a community of shared interests."
    "we asked 1 person, they said no. not our fault"
    "we're working on it"
    "we cant' find anyone"

    blah blah blah...

    but thanks for pointing it out, again and again....

    don't understand why the low N makes a difference either? Oh yeah bc just like FSP's post today, all the worthwhile bloggers fit a certain characteristics??

  • El Picador says:

    It's just that they are such...white looking white folk....I mean I don't know if they are all WASPs in reality but dayum, knowhatImsayin?

  • becca says:

    what ya wanna bet they mirror Wired's readership?

  • drugmonkey says:

    You are probably correct becca. Is that good, bad or indifferent?

  • antipodean says:

    Having grown up in an ethnically diverse part of the world and having researched ethnicity and health the first fucking rule is:

    "You can't tell somebody's ethnicity by looking at them"

  • Becca - I wouldn't take that bet. Why would WIRED readership be any different than the makeup if DM's blog or the workers at Microsoft? Last time I looked at my science departments, the students are pretty diverse? Why would a white male be more likely to read wired?
    They also used to say us women folk didn't like gaming or blogging. We were just more interested in the fashion mags. You wouldn't agree with StockCritique would you?

  • [...] Introducing Wired Science Blog network! and Meet the New Wired Science All-Star Bloggers and Wired Science Launches A New Blog Network and Clastic Detritus is now on Wired Science! and Wired Science Blog Network Launches!. [...]

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    I'm curious -- is there anyone you would nominate who you feel has been excluded?

  • becca says:

    @DM- I suspect the readership results from the authors (if one causes the other at all). I don't know if it's good or bad exactly, but I'd be really interested to see how generalizable that kind of connection is. Do writers of other magazines tend to have readerships that look like them (what's the gender ratio of New Yorker contributors?)? What about books or tv? Does this tell us anything about what happens with teachers and students and how that shapes who goes into what fields?

    @ScientistMother-
    According to Sheril, according to Henry Donahue (http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/intersection/2010/09/13/what-girls-arent-reading/), Wired's readership is 76% male. Which != 83%, but that's as close as you're gonna get with N=6.
    So yeah, my comment was based on data. Although I am making some assumptions about race, given that ~75% of the US probably might be described as 'pale', we'd only expect 1 blogger of color even if Wired's readership is in no way skewed on this dimension. And I somehow doubt it's not skewed at all.
    This was in no way defending the choices Wired made (or attacking them, for that matter), it was just an observation intended to start a more detailed discussion then 'hmm yet another skewed group'

    I think it's also interesting that Wired has other blogs, such as "Geekdad" and "Playbook". Overall, judging solely from names on 'editorial teams', it's would seem a total sausage fest. (entertainingly to me, "Geekdad" is one of the relatively gender balanced ones, with about 4/20 females involved. Yep, 20% female is about the best Wired can muster)

  • @ becca

    I think I need to do a whole blog post on my thoughts about this, as its mixed up with a whole bunch of other thoughts on the lack of diversity. Whether it be the Disney/Family Channel shows the my 8-14 year old cousins watch that (a) all white (b) all latin (c) all black, with b & c being the token shows. Whether it be the books I read to monkey, where all the children are pale unless I specifically go to the ethnic section. God forbid we have a book on exploring that has mixed groups. Nope we can only have books about chinese culture that have chinese children represented.

    I appreciate the desire for the more detailed discussion, but frankly I"m tired of the StockExcuses / StockCritiques. Like FSP said, unless you're willing to expand your own mind and make an effort shit ain't going to change.

    This same observation was made about SB, Discover, then Scientopia and now Wired...and we're still at the blah blah blah stage as far as I'm concerned.

    If I, the non-twitter, limited blog reader can name 5 bloggers that are ethnically diverse, then I'm sure the connected bloggers know way more.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    ScientistMother -- Who are the 5 bloggers you would name, and do they fit the overall editorial content profile that Wired is clearly going for? (ie, not blogging about life as an academic, etc).

  • @Neuro-Conservative

    Uhmm off the top of my head, Canadian Girl Postdoc does alot of evolution biology stuff, Ed yong and Venkat. Thats without looking at my reader and not really being involved in blogging heavily over the last few months. I'm pretty sure many more have joined the blogosphere.

  • Neuro-conservative says:

    @ScientistMother -- Your response does not quite live up to your promise. Of the 3 (not 5) that you named:

    1) Ed Yong is already part of Disco Blogs (along with Razib).

    2) While Canadian Girl does have some nice evol stuff, it is a very small minority of her postings. (According to her own sidebar index of number of posts/topic: personal=56; on being a postdoc=49; politics=16; topics in evolution=3),

    3) I am not sure who Venkat is.

    Unless you can do a little better than that, I would say that you and DM are on some shaky ground here.

  • Marcus says:

    The issue here is, if Scientist Mother, the folks at WIRED, or anyone else can't think of any "minority group" bloggers of the top of their head is the next step:

    1. Conclude that none exist.
    2. Good looking for them.

    I'm guessing #1 is often the default selection. Perhaps the folks at WIRED went with #2 and came up empty after a thorough search.

  • peggy says:

    There's an interesting discussion about this in the comments of a similar post at The Scientist.

    It looks like Wired bloggers - like the Discover bloggers or the new bloggers at the Guardian - all already had well-established blogs and (presumably) regular readers when they joined up.

    Certainly being a blogger on Scienceblogs helped many of the bloggers become well known enough to be invited to join Wired. It's not unreasonable for Wired to select bloggers using previous success as a criterion; they want readers, after all, and bringing writers with an existing audience is the easiest way to do that.

    But I think it does mean that the gender and race imbalance in blogger line ups can end up being self-perpetuating.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    This, Scientist Mother, is why you don't play stupid gotcha games with conservatives.

    The point, N-c, is diversity in the blogosphere. Not to accuse* Wired, or Sb, or Scientopia or anyone else of malevolence although I understand it is a nice distraction to go down that road for those of you who are antidiversity. Diversity sucks in the science blogosphere and just like anywhere else it is a multifaceted problem / issue / reality.

    My point, anyway, is to illustrate the continuing problem so as to 1) make people think just a leetle harder when they are arranging collectives that might be able to accommodate some additions or less-established bloggers if that is what it takes, 2) to motivate all of us to pay a little closer attention to just who is talking at a given blog and what their perspective might be and 3) to make it a touch more comfortable for the readers and commenters who might happen to have the same reaction to panel-o-whiteness that I did and wonder why nobody so much as remarks upon the issue.

    On none of this am I on your alleged infirm footing. Nice try though.

    *my personal view is that Disco Mag and Wired Mag style limited-numbers, popular voice blog networks would have a very hard time diversifying their faces (although you notice Disco did just fine by picking up Ed and Razib). Places like Scientopia, Lab Spaces and ScienceBlogs are bigger, incorporate more bloggers and don't have as closely a defined mission so it is easier to improve appearances. We at least tried, as we've discussed, to do even better than we have. Sb, I am unimpressed that they so much as ever considered that diversity was an issue. Lab Spaces, who knows, I haven't taken a good look at them yet.

  • Lab Spaces, who knows, I haven’t taken a good look at them yet.

    LabSpaces has 22 bloggers. At least 15* of them are women. In regards to "paleness", I haven't broken out my Felix von Luschan skin color chart. I'll leave that up to you if you prefer.

    *At least three of the bloggers don't have a picture up, or refer to themselves in their bio as female. The number could be as high as 18.

  • KBHC says:

    Thanks for pointing this stuff out, DM, and for linking to my Twitter comment regarding gender. Interestingly, the comments on Twitter got almost immediately derailed because everyone started attacking Alex and I on the journalism comment he made. Fun.

    Interestingly, I think his comment and mine are related. I think that the big networks who are launching scienceblogs are largely looking for big names and established writers. There have already been studies establishing that most pundits are men. It doesn't surprise me that the blogs with the most readership are men, and are journalists. It's who the networks will consider first because of what they think we should value in science blogging.

    I actually think science journalism blogging is incredibly important. But I also think scientists blogging about the process of science are important, and scientists blogging about the situation for underrepresented groups in science are important. I'd like to see, oh, a third of the blogging content on each major network given to each of these sub-science blogging fields. We'd probably see a lot more variation in the make-up of the authors this way, too. Without process and without understanding the lives of scientists, science blogs on big networks could become just online columns. Interesting, useful, fun to read and I certainly love them. But it's not the only reason I read science blogs.

  • [...] Science blog networks flowchart (PDF) and So, who the heck is still on ScienceBlogs anyways!? and Wired Science Blog Network Launches! and Wired Science Blog Network Launches! and Sex bomb and In which I notice a [...]

  • Luna_the_cat says:

    @ScientistMother:

    Whether it be the books I read to monkey, where all the children are pale unless I specifically go to the ethnic section.

    Speaking from a writerly perspective, this is a problem over which PoC writers often fume. Protagonists which are written as PoC are often forcibly changed by publishers to be white, because it is either "known" or simply assumed that non-pale protagonists do not have much of a market beyond an explicitly "ethnic" section. If the publishers want a book to be marketed to a general audience, then the protagonist gets to be white, no matter what the author originally intended.

    This is a side note only to the above conversation.

  • mike myers says:

    I think with science writers it's more about biology than demographics but am still curious about the demographics.

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