Hoo boy. I never thought I’d have to resign a blogging position in protest. But so I find.
I’m dismayed at ScienceBlogs’ decision to run material written by PepsiCo as what amounts to editorial content — equivalent, that is, to the dozens of blogs written by scientists, bloggers, and writers who come with a different, more straightforward sort of agenda. This is like having Pfizer run CME; it presents problems I can’t overlook. My Sblings should and will do as they see and feel best, and can and will do so without censure or judgment from me. But I cannot help but feel complicit in this if I stay.
PepsiCo wants this spot, and can gain from it, only because the bloggers here have sought to write genuinely as individuals trying to communicate something genuinely arising from their own minds and work. But PepsciCo — I speak of the company, not of the individuals slated to write for Food Frontiers, of whom I know little — clearly has a different agenda, which is to use the whatever credibility that the bloggers here generate for the site to improve the company’s standing and credibility about food. That is a job they should do with their food.
As PalMD and others have pointed out, PepsiCo hardly lacks platform. The only value they can gain from writing here is to draw on the credibility created by a bunch of independent voices engaged in earnest,= thoughtful (well, most of the time), and genuine conversation. Even if PepsiCo were not paying for the privilege — and I’d be quite surprised to find they aren’t, for why would ScienceBlogs risk its credibility otherwise? — this would be a problem. As it is, however, assuming PepsiCo is paying, then they’re buying credibility generated by others even as they damage same.
Call me old-fashioned, but I can’t cotton to this. With the addition of Food Frontiers, ScienceBlogs has redrawn the boundaries of what it considers legitimate and constructive blogo-journalism about science. In doing so they define an environment I can’t live comfortably in. So with this post I’m leaving ScienceBlogs. For the moment I am moving my blog to Neuron Culture, hosted by WordPress, while considering other venues that might make sense for me. See below for links to the new Neuron Culture as well as other ways to follow me and my writing.
I know all too well that the changing media landscape presents financial challenges. But this isn’t the way to meet them.
Neuron Culture will continue/resume here. It’s missing some recent posts at the moment due to an export/import snafu I’m in the midst of correcting.
To subscribe to its new RSS feed (for Google Reader and such), go here.