• Wed, Mar 7 2007

Genetics Blogging is Illegitimate

Safety 1st Simple Step Diaper PailGood bye, everyone. I’m outta here. It appears that all my work here at Genetics and Health is pointless and of no value whatsoever. Never mind that I produce original content day in and day out. Never mind that others believe in the value of my work. Never mind that Genetics and Health is a part of b5media, a global new media company. None of that impresses EurekAlert! to whom I applied for access to embargoed press releases.

When I was first told that my application did not qualify, I thought perhaps EurekAlert! did not know enough about my work. So I sent them this email:

Dear Eryn,

Thank you for your email. Could you tell me what documentation I can provide in order to gain access to embargoed news through EurekAlert!?

Would it help if I had my company’s Vice President of Operations vouch for me? I work for b5media, a global new media company and am the editor of the Science and Health Channel. My GeneticsAndHealth.com site is one of the leading genetics blogs online and I have been recognized by Forbes, Fox News, and Nature Genetics Reviews among other mainstream media publications.

Thank you for your consideration,

And this was the reply I received:

I appreciate your email, Hsien, but unfortunately, the decision must stand. Our eligibility criterion does not include writing blogs of any kind. Feel free to re-register in the future, should your writing outlets expand.


Major diss. Maybe it’s a sign that it’s time for me to get a “proper job.” Someone please validate me (and the hundreds and thousands of other science bloggers out there)!!

Update: Thank you to Steve at FreshYields, Bora at A Blog Around the Clock, Tris of Homely Scientist, Alun at Archaeoastronomy, and Reed at The Panda’s Thumb for your support. Reed’s also calling for all science bloggers to apply to EurekAlert! for access to journalist access. And no thank you to to Emma for the extra splash of diss juice.

Don’t miss my podcast in response to the whole situation and clarifying what I think is so special about science blogs. Also, see b5media CEO Jeremy Wright’s assessment of the situation.


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  • http://scienceblogs.com/clock/ coturnix

    It’s to their own detriment. They will go the way of the dinosaur if they keep thinking this way.

  • Dana

    Seems they are a little behind the times…

  • http://www.flyawaycafe.com Mary Jo

    Oooooh — it sounds like they don’t think bloggers are “real” writers.

    Others have made that decision, and learned what a mistake it was. Let’s hope these guys wake up and smell the blogging coffee!

  • http://herpes-help.blogspot.com/ Angela

    It’s their loss for sure. You don’t need them. At first when I say this post I thought you were going to cancel this particular blog on B5. I was relieved to see that wasn’t the case. I don’t understand why companies have a problem with blogging. I suppose it would mean more if the word “blog” wasn’t used? I know, THAT is silly. Anyway, I have you on my newsreader. I’m interested in all things health and ESPECIALLY if it’s STD related. So I will be keeping my eye on your health stuff. Thanks Hsien. :-)

  • http://www.freshyields.com Steve James


    Maybe you can send them a press release from their own site that was titled “Online world as important to Internet users as real world?” – http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-11/uosc-owa112806.php

  • http://www.artisthideout.com William Lehman

    Wow, now I feel really insensitive because of that comment I posted on Twitter earlier in response. Dang instant communication tools! Anyway, it is their loss besides, I think it’s proven that blogs are having enough of an impact that so-called “real journalism” will recognize they are obsolete too late.

  • http://blog.larixconsulting.com/ Tris Hussey


    Somehow I don’t think their clients would appreciate not being included in blogs. Gee, when was the last time you read a press release that you didn’t see up on a blog first?

    I have a feeling they will soon be begging you to come in.

  • http://migg.wordpress.com migg

    That’s weird. But I hope they’ll change their minds soon.

  • http://health-counterspin.blogspot.com Emily

    OK, now I’m even more annoyed with EurekAlert – you’d think that their being web-based would land them in the 21st century with regard to blogging, but apparently not. I have had no trouble as a blogger getting access to embargoed material at outlets like JAMA. What’s with these people?

    Please don’t take it personally, Hsien – totally their loss!

  • http://scienceroll.com/ NCurse

    Lol! Don’t care baout them, Hsien! You know well how important your job is!

  • http://eatingwithyouranorexic.blogspot.com Laura Collins

    I can’t help you with EurekaAlert’s permissions but I do advise you to save that correspondence to file in the near future with other silly statements like this:

    “…so many centuries after the Creation it is unlikely that anyone could find hitherto unknown lands of any value.”
    – Committee advising King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain regarding a proposal by Christopher Columbus, 1486

  • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

    coturnix: Thanks for your support. :)

    Dana: It appears so! I’m so disappointed in them.

    Mary Jo: Yes, I’m a hack. It’s now official.

    Angela: It’s lovely to hear from you!! If I see something STD-related, I shall blog it just for you.

    Steve: Great link!!

    William: No worries! I thought you were funny.

    Tris: Oh, I know!! The CEO of Ravgen said to me yesterday that he really appreciates the extra coverage from blogs and thinks we’ll supplant newspapers before too long. Now, that’s a visionary!

    migg: If we make enough noise, perhaps they’ll let us all in. ;)

    Emily: /me runs off to JAMA

    NCurse: Thanks so much for the support!

    Laura: Love it!!

  • http://www.markevanstech.com Mark Evans

    As someone who spent more than 15 years working for mainstream media organizations, it’s fair to say that few people in that MSM/PR worlds have their around blogs or bloggers yet. The question whether bloggers are journalists is still open for debate, and I suspect it will be for a while longer. It’s not that they don’t appreciate the work bloggers do, it’s just they don’t understand how blogs have become part of the media landscape in such a short period of time. As a result, they have no policies in place to deal with bloggers such as you.

  • http://www.socialmediagroup.ca maggie fox

    Wow. I wonder if EurekAlert! thinks the damage done to their brand by this thread (personally, I now think they are absolutely out of it) also does not exist/isn’t important?

  • http://www.ebeautydaily.com Christina

    Are they insane or just completely stupid? Way to go, Dr. Lei, for giving it back to them. :)

  • http://herpes-help.blogspot.com/ Angela

    Hsien Hsien ~
    Thank you so much for keeping your eyes open for me. I have been an online patient advocate for about 10 years now. I’ve also been running a herpes support group here in Omaha since about 2000. I probably know more about sexually transmitted infections than most doctors out there. In any case, I appreciate what you are writing about.

    Just remember that it is the bloggers that are keeping mainstream media on their toes. We don’t have to fill quotas if we don’t want to AND many of us blog for the love of blogging. I don’t know if there are a handful of journalists that actually like their jobs, do you?

    You can tell when somebody is trying to beat the time because it shows in their writing. They don’t present both sides of the situation. Take for example the CCN article that came about about herpes dating sites. They botched that one up pretty bad in my opinion. They only presented the negative side and not the positive side of having herpes.

    What I mean by that is people with herpes should NOT ever feel as though they have to limit themselves to dating only those that have it. The CNN article made it seem like every single telling situation would prompt the other person to run as fast as they can and that’s just NOT always the case.

    http://yoshi2me.com/herpes-telling.html — That’s our story

    Anyway ~ had the people that wrote the CNN article taken their time to really investigate the herpes community they may have found much better resoures to share with their readers instead of making it seem like people with herpes have no sex life and can only date those that have it.

    Ok, I probably talked your head off about herpes. I needed an example to give you and it is what I know.. in any case.. EurekAlert made a BIG mistake not accepting you. That’s how I see my situation with the yahoo version of adsense. They screwed up BIG TIME when they turned me down because my site was about herpes and STD’s.

    Have a great rest-of-the-week!! :-)

  • http://sciencewomen.blogspot.com/ Peggy

    What is most ridiculous about this situation is that science bloggers do a much much better job reporting science news than my local newspaper. Perhaps EurekAlert’s concern is that, unlike newspapers that uncritically regurgitate press releases, bloggers like yourself give background, context and read the actual paper. The last thing PR people want is someone noticing that the results they are touting aren’t as exciting (or scientifically supported) as their press release suggests (or maybe I’m just getting cynical in my old age).

  • http://scienceblogs.com/transcript apalazzo

    By keeping blogs like yours out, they’re loosing out. The AAAS has to realize that getting the story out to bloggers like you can only help their cause.

  • http://autimvox.com Kristina

    What the!

    All publicity is good—and when AAAS figures that out, they’ll be shouting Eureka!

    (Echoing us blog-brethren.)

  • http://www.jewelryandbeading.com Tammy

    They speak out of ignorance, probably with a dab of envy. You have a “proper” job, Lei!

  • http://latifundiaetal.blogspot.com Roger

    Well, I find your website helpful and interesting. When I started college I was thinking gentics was the field for me until I found out the laboratory wasn’t. Yet, with at least two gene related conditions – one a pseudohaemophilia and the other cholesterol related – along with a family history of more than one identical twin set, genetics are a strong lay interest and your site is one that I review regularly.

  • Snowy

    One really positive thing to come out of this is that so many people have responded! I don’t often comment, but I appreciate all the work you do to bring relevant information to a wider audience. I am pleased so many others do as well.
    Keep on, and don’t let them wear you down!

  • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

    Mark: Apparently, they’ve decided that bloggers like me should be taken out back and shot. :P

    Maggie: Hello! I’m guessing they won’t even know this is going on. Although maybe I should email her the link….

    Christina: Perhaps I’m the one who’s insane.

    Angela: Wow. I love your passion. I’ll be emailing you for an interview if you wouldn’t mind being featured on this podunk blog.

    Peggy: I think you’ve hit it on the head. They probably don’t like us to take things and question it, dig for more info, etc. Honestly, are they afraid I won’t respect embargo dates or something? What’s the big diff? (BTW, I’ve been meaning to add you to my blogroll for a long time and just did it.) :)

    Alex: I would like to think so and obviously others do, but it’ll be a long time coming before bloggers get taken as seriously as they take themselves.

    Kristina: I hope nobody’s listening when they shout Eureka. ;)

    Tammy: lol Thanks!! Now to justify it to my friends and family…. :D

    Roger: You’re so kind. I love that you’re so thoughtful. As for not liking the lab, there are many ways to approach genetics without having to spend your life pipetting. Hmmm, new post idea!!

    Snowy: Thank you!! You’re so right. I really really appreciate everyone’s support and it gave me the excitement I was thinking I needed this week. Ha Ha Ha *sigh*

  • http://www.thriftymommy.com kellys

    I think they have lost their minds! Do they not know who they are talking to and how many readers you have. I think we should all send them an email saying something to that effect. You would definitely gain access then!
    I am game if anyone else is! One email just won’t have the same effect.

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  • http://scienceblogs.com/clock/ coturnix

    Follow the Panda’s Thumb trackback just above and do what Reed suggests – all of us should sign up for EurekAlert and see what happens.

  • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

    Kelly: Fantastic idea. A movement has started. Let’s charge the gate! ;)

    We’ve got a few people signed up already. The EurekAlert registration form is here:


    And I’ve also added a poll for fun. :)

    Thanks, everyone!! Exciting times.

  • http://www.adozensteps.com/ Mark

    I think this happened to you because Rundle secretly works for EurekAlert!


  • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

    Mark: lol Stop trying to get me in trouble! I’m in deep as it is.

  • Popper’s Ghost

    According to a post at Panda’s Thumb by Ginger Pinholster, “In accordance with Securities Exchange Act guidelines, embargoed access is provided for on-staff and freelance reporters, editors or producers who are employed by accredited news media outlets.”

    Is b5media an accredited news media outlet? Are you employed by b5media? If so, it would seem that you qualify. There’s nothing there about needing to write outside of blogs, so it would seem that either “Eryn” or Ms. Pinholster are mistaken about EurekAlert!’s policy.

  • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

    Popper’s Ghost: Hi there! Cool nickname. :)

    Thanks for letting me know Ms. Pinholster posted over at Panda’s Thumb. Not so nice to know that she ignored me over here, though. Grrr.

    Anyhoo, b5media is currently working on getting accredited. We’re a new company that started up in November 2005 and received VC funding about a year later. And yes, I am employed by b5 and after we get accredited, we will be issuing legit press passes to all our writers.

  • http://scienceblogs.com/clock/ coturnix

    Let’s see what they do to me – after all, I am not currently an active researcher or student and I am affiliated with Seed Magazine.

  • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

    coturnix: Perhaps they’ll put out the red carpet, summon the band, and throw rose petals when you sign in for the first time. ;)

  • http://pithingcontest.blogspot.com greesmile

    embargoed? Does that mean the press releases I see are only the ones I am supposed to see and there is a separate stream for special people??

    I DON’T READ ANY THING BUT eurekalert so embargo essentially means suppression, non-publication, bit bucket…And I am a paid up AAAS member with a university library’s subscription privs at my disposal. Its is strictly a matter of not having time to to do all that damn unpacking.
    They lose.

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  • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

    greesmile: Hi! Nice to see you here. And, yes, there is a separate stream that allows registered people to have access to press releases before they’re released to the public. According to their About section:

    Qualified reporters and freelancers can access embargoed and breaking news, peer-reviewed journals, experts and other valuable resources through EurekAlert!.

    What do you suppose we’re missing?

  • http://pithingcontest.blogspot.com greensmile

    what are we missing?

    If you took two wolf packs and mingled all the animals in a corral letting them in one at a time at random, they’d sniff each other and segregate. To you, they would all look just the same but be in two groups.

    You and I, we don’t smell like money.

    As a consumer more than a contributer in AAAS/eurekalert’s market for science news, I only now learn of what I have been missing…my gratitude to you, Dr. Lei.

    The nature of that market is that a high percentage of the readers will eventually produce a paper they would like to see written up and widely publicised. i.e. many here are both consumer and producer…it is a complete ecosystem of information development, give or take a few external sources and sinks. In bygone eras, the members of that ecosystem were cut off by geography and the old limits of communications. Then AAAS was a more important service to the community of science. Now, I still appreciate them for their lobbying, especially in an anti science administration, but with repositories like PLOS and search engines to compete with, they ought to reexamine the model critically and figure out what would be a help to the community of science in light of modern communication capacities and expectations.

  • Derek

    I think I heard they were changing their name and also their tagline which will now be “The Previous Generation Science Society” (joint conferences with the Flat Earth Society perhaps?).

  • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

    greensmile: Guess all the money I spent on perfume containing “Money” pheromones has been totally wasted.

    Derek: lol Scandalicious!

  • http://www.piercemattie.com/blogs Shannon


    Perhaps they live in the stone age and simply don’t understand that blogs are the new media for journalism. Are they saying that if a big media company such as FOX, CBS, ABC, NBC applied with one of their health/science bloggers that they too would be shut out? You’ve been mentioned by Forbes and other such big wigs, why not contact them as well and tell them what is going on…they may create a story out of it.

    I think it’s a shame. They can’t respect your work enough simply because you write it all on a blog. :(


  • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

    Shannon: Thanks for letting us know that not everyone involved in PR thinks so little of blogs and bloggers. I have a meeting with some science media folks on Tuesday. I’ll be sure to mention it to them.

  • http://herpes-help.blogspot.com/ Angela

    You are more than welcome to write to me for a feature story whenever you’d like. I just got home from being OOT for the weekend. My e-mail addy is angela[AT]yoshi2me[DOT]com ~ OR ~ yoshi2me[AT]cox[DOT]net. Either one will do as it all comes to the same inbox. Oh and I do plan on linking your blog on my Herpes Blog. :D

  • http://www.thriftymommy.com Karen is Thrifty

    So sorry Hsien. Unfortunately, I’ve read some stuff online lately about bloggers not being real journalists. I know most of us bloggers work hard to research our information. It’s just a shame.

  • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

    Angela: I’ll email you as soon as I can and thanks for the link!!

    Karen: Thanks for the support. :)

  • David Harmon

    I find it entertaining that more than half your poll-voters never heard of EurekaAlert, but they got here!

    Anyway, don’t give up on blogging, there’s more to science blogging than posting first.

  • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

    David: Thank you for the encouraging comment! Posting first is probably an impossible dream for me, but I sure would have liked being a member of the club. ;)

  • http://www.piercemattie.com/blogs Shannon

    David I may have not heard of EurekAlert because I am not a science blogger, however who hasn’t heard of the fabulous Hsien-Hsien?

    Hsien, maybe the New England Journal of Medicine can begin having “Cover Girl’s” and you can be the first. ;)

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  • http://www.blogaholics.ca Arieanna

    It’s odd how the people who could benefit the most by our involvement as bloggers are the ones who shun us. Through fear or misunderstanding, who knows.

    I get the same kind of “you have no right” bit when it comes to my coffee blog. Aparently regular consumers’ opinions don’t matter. Just those of “official” reviewers. Same kind of bull.

    Good for you for writing about it. And if you never get a proper response, well sucks for them for not subscribing to mentions of their URL.

  • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

    Shannon: I’m not qualified to be the cover girl of anything esp. after that HUGE profile pic you put up of me.

    Arieanna: You’re so polite! I would have said bullsh*t. :D

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  • http://wp.jeremycherfas.net/ Jeremy Cherfas

    I’m late to the fray, I know, but you have my total support, for what it’s worth. I’ve written a little post over at my site here and contacted some “friends” to see if there are any alternatives.

    And as Groucho Marx said, “I wouldn’t care to be a member of any club that would have me as a member”.

  • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

    Jeremy: Are you saying I look like Groucho Marx. ;)

  • http://michaelkenward.blogspot.com/ Michael Kenward

    From this self-important, and self-congratulatory, discussion, I reckon that Eurekalert! is wise to restrict access, something it also does, or did when I was in the fray, to freelance writers and to PR folks.

    It has always been hard to get accreditation on Eurekalert! and for the AAAS press room, for obvious reasons, the place can get swamped with “hangers on” having a nice time schmoozing one another while the hacks type away.

    While there may be some fine blogs out there, many are utter tosh. Who is going to pick those that deserve access, or do you want a mad free for all?

    There are also sometimes legal reasons for restricting access. It is called “insider trading”. Papers in some journals can move share prices. Journals and newspapers have rules about what is acceptable.

    I can’t see Bloggers obeying any rules. Indeed, I rather hope they don’t. That’s what makes some of them interesting.

  • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

    Michael: Thanks for your comment. It’s always interesting to get opinions from all sides. I have never implied that all bloggers should get access to embargoed material but I was disappointed that I, a former PhD researcher working for a global new media company, was not able to. I believe that it is possible for there to be strict criteria applied to blogger access just as there is for other writers.

    For what it’s worth, although I may be regarded by some, but not all, journalists to be a “hack”, I have published papers in highly regarded scientific journals and in lay magazines as well (just not on science and health). I agree with you that I am more staid than other bloggers out there since I obey many of the rules. Obviously, I don’t obey enough.

    As for self-important and self-congratulatory, that’s what blogging is about, isn’t it? ;)

  • http://michaelkenward.blogspot.com/ Michael Kenward

    Eurekalert! should review applications from bloggers just as it would any other bid for access. If someone can meet the same criteria as a freelance writer, for example, then they should grant access.

    Just don’t see this as some sort of moral crusade. It isn’t. Do not align yourself with the majority of dimwits who blog because they can do nothing better. You only make it harder for the AAAS to back down.

    Freelance applicants used to require backing from an editor who buys their words. What’s wrong with that? Why should they take my word for it that I am a famous science writer?

    In your position I would approach the journals that you want to reach. They are, after all, Eurekalert!’s customers, and paymasters.

    I have had my own qualms about Eurekalert! in the past. The least of their crimes is keeping out bloggers.

    The AAAS has always been an “iffy” organisation. (Witness this weekend’s attack on their belated and dodgy input on climate change.) Forget about Science, their own journal, it is mostly fluff – albeit it well written fluff with a fine news section – the playground of a particular type of scientist and very narrow view of science.

    The word “edit” is what distinguishes blogging, 99 per cent of which is dross, from science writing, which relies on first selling a story to an editor, and then battling it through the editing process.

    I’m afraid that you hit the nail on your head with the comment “As for self-important and self-congratulatory, that’s what blogging is about, isn’t it?”

    Yes. This is true. And it is why I would keep Eurekalert! closed to most bloggers. Vanity is not a good reason for gaining access to embargoed material.

  • http://wp.jeremycherfas.net/ Jeremy Cherfas

    I’d have to agree with Michael, this isn’t a moral crusade. But I wonder, does the science correspondent (if there is one) of, say, the English Daily Star or the American Weekly World News, get automatic access to Eurekalert?

  • http://michaelkenward.blogspot.com/ Michael Kenward

    Jeremy raises a point that I should have spotted, had I not already gone on too long.

    On-line does not equal blogging.

    So the many on-line news sources out there may well have access to embargoed material. I certainly hope they do at New Scientist on line, the BBC and so on.

    I suspect that the AAAS is discriminating against bloggers, not on-line outlets.

    The key here is that they are not just some sole nutcase, with an inflated view of their insights into the world, sitting in a room puffing out opinions.

    The places Jeremy cites have the luxury of editors, which is why they have readers who take them a bit more seriously than your average blogger.

    Another thing I should have picked up on is the suggestion that the label “former PhD researcher” somehow qualifies someone for access to embargoed material. Er, on what grounds?

    Forget it. More important is the tag “working for a global new media company”.

    Fight that case and you will have my support. But fight for every nameless ranter to get access to this stuff, and you are on your own.

    If, as someone suggests, everyone who has posted here tries to sign up for Eurekalert! that will be a great reason for them to allow no one in.

  • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

    Michael, I totally understand your points and respect your experience in science publishing and writing. The reason I bring up my PhD is to show that I’m not just some hack off the street with no understanding of science. I have a critical eye and know what’s real and what’s fluff (something that AAAS may have difficulties with, ha).

    Regardless, this whole exercise has been very interesting. Whether or not I have access to embargoed material is irrelevant because I still have access to scientists themselves and can get a far more interesting scoop than regurgitating a press release. It does matter whether I have a PhD or not in this case because scientists know they’re talking to a peer. I just thought it would be interesting to see what’s behind the locked door and was surprised to find myself shut out. Woman scorned and all that.

    When I first posted on this, nothing would have happened except a few rolled eyes if people thought it didn’t matter. But the fact that many have found it worth talking about shows that the the issue is important to some people, including you. Independent bloggers may never gain access to embargoed material but (professional) bloggers will be increasingly given greater access. Witness press passes to bloggers at trade shows and embedded bloggers in Iraq.

  • http://michaelkenward.blogspot.com/ Michael Kenward

    “Whether or not I have access to embargoed material is irrelevant because I still have access to scientists themselves and can get a far more interesting scoop than regurgitating a press release.”

    So why go on about it? And why make the absurd statement that “all my work here at Genetics and Health is pointless and of no value whatsoever” because some jobsworth won’t let you into their club.

    As have said elsewhere, only the lamest journalists need embargoed press releases.

    By the way, anyone can get into trade shows. Try getting a free pass for an expensive conference.

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  • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

    Michael: I know you’re new here but a lot of what you pointed out was said in jest. I do have a sense of humor.

  • http://sleepyblogger.com Robyn Tippins

    That’s absurd. Were it an old media company embracing blogs that were applying this would be a moot point. Clearly they are truly clueless.

    You’re one of the nerdiest science writers I know (a compliment I assure you) so I’m baffled at their stance, but the writing on the wall is there. Bloggers are a force to be reckoned with…

    65 comments… I think you struck a nerve.

  • http://www.piercemattie.com/blogs Shannon

    The point is that not all bloggers should be allowed in, but just as they look at each application for the other media that applies, they should also review each blogger application on an individual basis. If the blogger has the same credentials as the typical scientific journalist, why can’t they be allowed access to embargoed material?

    I don’t understand the comments about this being a moral crusade because I see it as someone who has the educational and scientific clout wondering why she is discriminated against simply because blogging is her medium.

    Basically EurekAlert is saying that even if the Surgeon General applied for embargoed access, but listed that it was for his blog, he too would be denied. Silly.

  • http://www.thriftymommy.com Karen is Thrifty

    Hey Robyn. I’m glad to see you here.

    I agree Shannon. They should review each application and allow Hsien access.

  • http://michaelkenward.blogspot.com/ Michael Kenward

    Shannon wrote: “Basically EurekAlert is saying that even if the Surgeon General applied for embargoed access, but listed that it was for his blog, he too would be denied. Silly.”

    Wrong example. Why should the Surgeon General have prior access to embargoed material? So that they can prepare a defence for things to be said about them?

    Read what I wrote.

    “Eurekalert! should review applications from bloggers just as it would any other bid for access. If someone can meet the same criteria as a freelance writer, for example, then they should grant access.”

    Shannon also wrote “The point is that not all bloggers should be allowed in”.

    That is now the line, but only after I suggested it.


    As to the “65 comments… I think you struck a nerve.” Count their content. Not their numbers.

    Were I over at Eurekalet! vetting an application, I would see the vapid and content free tenor of most of these messages as a confirmation of my original decision.

    This is not the place to try to persuade the AAAS. Hsien should enlist the support of the people behind this bolt hole. Or possibly one or two Nobel prize winners.

    Then again, any company can set itself up as a media giant in these e-days. I have never heard of b5media. They may be the next Google. Or they may be a couple of undergraduates whiling away the hours between bouts of binge drinking.

    I have regular dealings with other start ups burning up venture capital cash. I know just how seriously to take them. The usual phrase to describe these things is “crash and burn”.

    In a nutshell, it is the blog words that scares the AAAS. And with good reason given that 99% of all known blogs are crap.

    Back to earning a living with this writing caper.

  • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

    Robyn: Feel the force. ;)

    Shannon: I appreciate the support! I know you get it.

    Karen: Access or no access, blogging goes on. :)

    Michael: I’m honored you’ve spent so much of your valuable time here defending old media and EurekAlert! I shall also go back to earning a living with my writing as I have been doing for the past…13 years. But I know that pales in comparison to old guards like you. Cheers.

  • http://www.piercemattie.com/blogs Shannon


    Maybe you missed my point. By citing the Surgeon General I was simply saying that someone with all the medical criteria and clout in the world would be denied simply based upon the fact that he uses blogging as his medium to convey it. Based on what EuerkAlert told Hsien in their follow up email, they simply don’t see blogging as a legitimate way to convey scientific information.

    I don’t see this post by Hsien as a tantrum to make EurekAlert change their minds. I see it as someone who was simply venting that she wasn’t taken seriously because she blogs.

    I also think the amount of comments posted is simply due to many serious bloggers not being respected and it really has nothing to do with EurekAlert, science and what not. The nerve struck is with the bloggers themselves who have made all efforts to follow the rules of journalism and no matter how professional or how much education we have in our backgrounds, we are still seen on a level playing field as someone who is just writing about X or Y just for fun.

  • http://michaelkenward.blogspot.com/ Michael Kenward

    “By citing the Surgeon General I was simply saying that someone with all the medical criteria and clout in the world would be denied simply based upon the fact that he uses blogging as his medium to convey it.”

    You should have cited someone in the media who blogs, rather than a scientist. Maybe that Huffington woman, who seems to be all the rage. Or someone on Slate.

    There is good reason to keep things away from folks like the Surgeon General. It is called insider trading.

    Papers in the journals can influence share prices. Newspapers have rules that disbar their writers from dealing in the companies that they write about.

    It may be that b5media has similar rules, in which case Hsien would be covered. But that does not apply to most bloggers, many of whom run their own show.

    Don’t forget, EurekAlert! is only the middle man in the chain, sitting between the folks with material they want to release and the hacks who are drooling at the mouth awaiting its arrival.

    As I have said several times, the mistake is to make the case for bloggers to have access. Just as some freelance writers are allowed in while others are not, the same should apply to bloggers.

    I’d give it a few months before the AAAS begins to mend its ways.

    A good ally to have on board would be the NASW. If they are “blogger friendly” then the AAAS will take some notice.

    In other words, engage your brains and make a sensible case.

  • http://www.cirquelodge.com Mr. Rehab

    Lousy thinking if they keep up this thing they’ll turn back to you, but until then that’s that. Good luck finding people who appreciate your work better.

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