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.

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 25th, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Comments
  • Christopher Mims April 25, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    Oh hell yes. May it rise like the phoenix.

  • Tim De Chant April 25, 2011 at 8:03 pm

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

  • Maxwell Despard April 26, 2011 at 6:46 am

    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.

  • John Spevacek April 26, 2011 at 7:45 am

    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.

  • Alan Mairson April 26, 2011 at 8:07 am

    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/

  • Dave Mosher April 26, 2011 at 11:34 am

    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.

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