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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

So who bought ScienceBlogs? Retraction Watch exclusive: National Geographic

with 6 comments

This afternoon, PZ Myers, of the wildly popular Pharyngula blog on ScienceBlogs, started a post with a few lines that set science writers on Twitter abuzz:

I have news. Scienceblogs is going to be folded into a new organization sometime soon — basically, we’ve been bought. I can’t discuss all of the details just yet, but let’s just say it is a prestigious national magazine with a healthy bottom line that will do us a lot of good.

Retraction Watch has learned, from a source familiar with the negotiations, that the buyer is National Geographic. We don’t have any details at this point, and Nat Geo has not returned a request for comment [see update at end], but we are confident in reporting this.

Readers may recall PepsiGate, which led a number of bloggers to leave ScienceBlogs after the soft drink company was allowed to buy a blog on the site. The site’s owner, SEED Magazine, has struggled over the years.

We’ll add more details as we learn them.

Update, 3:20 p.m. Eastern, 4/26/11: National Geographic has just posted this on their press site:

National Geographic has assumed management of day-to-day operations for Scienceblogs.com, expanding a relationship with Seed Media Group that started when National Geographic took on ad sales responsibility for Scienceblogs.com in 2009.

Please see an update with more details.

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Written by Ivan Oransky

April 25, 2011 at 5:58 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Oh hell yes. May it rise like the phoenix.

    Christopher Mims

    April 25, 2011 at 6:21 pm

  2. Agreed, Christopher. I specifically ruled out SB after the PepsiGate thing for Per Square Mile. Hopefully NatGeo will help burnish that image.

    Tim De Chant

    April 25, 2011 at 8:03 pm

  3. I’m still wary. NatGeo totally screwed the pooch on their “Real Pirates” exhibit in Norfolk, VA; hosted it at a U.S. Navy museum, whitewashed it completely (except for brief mentions in Black History Month), and left out quite a bit of context / information.

    There are worse organizations out there, but I put NatGeo only a couple steps above History Channel.

    Maxwell Despard

    April 26, 2011 at 6:46 am

  4. Considering how little Pharyngula has to do with science, I’m hoping Nat Geo will either give PZ the boot or rename the umbrella.

    Note: endless drones about Christianity do not qualify as science.

    John Spevacek

    April 26, 2011 at 7:45 am

  5. I hope National Geographic can help burnish SB post-PepsiGate. But there’s good reason to wait & see.

    For instance, the National Geographic Channel seems to have no idea what the advertising – editorial divide is all about:
    http://societymatters.org/2010/10/21/burning-up-our-brand-equity/

    Or take a peek at what happened to filmmaker Robert Stone when he joined the blogging team for Nat Geo’s Energy Challenge (sponsored by Shell):

    http://societymatters.org/2010/12/18/ng-blogger-quits-over-shell-sponsorship/

    Alan Mairson

    April 26, 2011 at 8:07 am

  6. Thought: I don’t know who their community manager is/will be, but they’ll need a ****ing talented one to handle that blogging community and properly squeeze the potential out of it. Otherwise… I dare not say.

    Dave Mosher

    April 26, 2011 at 11:34 am


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