It’s a wish fulfilled to see Canada now has a science blog aggregator and an incubator (in my opinion) for an emergent science media network giving prominence to science as delivered by blogs, Twitter, and other social media: Science Borealis. While the mainstream media has been struggling for some years with diminishing resources, the social media has been burgeoning and the landscape for science journalism and science communication has changed irrevocably. I find it fascinating that while conferences in Canada include science media panels they do not tend to include science bloggers or, if they do, the science bloggers are given a separate panel. It seems as if bloggers are not part of the media as far as the Canadian science and social science communities are concerned. This is particularly odd in a country such as Canada where we have so little mainstream media offering science content other than regurgitated press releases. (For those not familiar with the practice, many of the science articles you see in newspapers are press releases that have been rewritten by a journalist with no new content or commentary added; it’s a practice known as ‘churnalism‘.)
I think it’s time that Canadian university press officers/communications specialists/etc. and the marketing communications people in various agencies and businesses woke up to the fact that science bloggers, etc. are part of an emergent science media community. For that matter, I hope some of the members of the Science Borealis community (full disclosure: I was on the founding team) wake up to that fact too. Yes, even I sometime fall prey to the old habits of thought about communication and outreach but what I find surprising is that many people in their 30s and younger have those same habits. So, my wish for 2014 is that science blogging be recognized as integral to the science media landscape by everyone and we outgrow our ingrained habits of thought..
At the last count Dec. 31, 2013, Science Borealis has some 50 blogs in its feed six weeks after its launch at the 5th Canadian Science Policy Conference (Nov. 20 – 22, 2013). Prior to the launch, we knew of the existence of approximately150 Canadian science blogs, so, I have a second wish: I hope more Canadian science bloggers join in 2014.
Science Borealis has a livefeed of blog postings on its homepage so you can see a variety of what’s available on any one day or if there’s some new science policy or science scandal, you can get a look at what bloggers are saying about it in more or less realtime. If you have a particular area of interest, there’s a subject listing too,
Biology and Life Sciences
Communication, Education and Outreach
Environmental and Earth Sciences
Health, Medicine and Veterinary Science
Mathematics and Statistics
Physics and Astronomy
Policy and Politics
Science in Society
Technology and Engineering
I don’t know if Science Borealis will thrive or fulfill any of my (or someone else’s ) wishes for an easy way to find other Canadian science blogs (Yay, I no longer feel obliged to do an annual roundup) or as the beginning of a Canadian science media community but I applaud its existence and the other members of the founding team. The lead organizations were:
A special shoutout for:
- Watershed Moments (Snow Hydro/Sarah Boon),
Here are the rest of us:
- Eight Crayon Science,
- Agence Science-Presse (Pascal Lapointe),
- Science World blog (Raymond Nakamura),
- Endless Forms Most Beautiful (Kimberly Moynahan)
What a fabulous way to top off 2013 with our very own science blog aggregator! Happy New Year’s Eve!