Neuron Culture

A food blog I can’t digest

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. 

 

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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.

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Comments

  1. #1 Greg Laden
    July 7, 2010

    I don’t think they are going to run it as editorial content. I think they are going to run it like the Collective Imagination blog (GE) ran: Research scientists embedded in a major corp writing stuff. You should give it a chance.

  2. #2 Bryan Pfeiffer
    July 7, 2010

    Good on ya, mate!

  3. #3 Sharon Astyk
    July 7, 2010

    No, he shouldn’t.

  4. #4 Paolo
    July 7, 2010

    Excellent, man.

  5. #5 Peter B. Reiner
    July 7, 2010

    Bravo!!

  6. #6 Dave Mosher
    July 7, 2010

    Respect your decision. A few thoughts:

    I think the lack of transparency (as of right now, anyway) is a huge folly on ScienceBlog’s/SEED media’s part. And agreed that this is leveraging independent bloggers’ credibility for a corporate interest.

    In short, sloppy thinking and implementation. I might have been able to digest this news if PepsiCo’s relationship with ScienceBlogs was clearly designated as a sort of “special advertising section,” as one would find in a magazine. But it isn’t.

    Another thought: I can’t say I don’t like with what they’re is blogging about, seeing as they haven’t posted anything other than an introductory post. Frankly, I’m curious. Who knows — PepsiCo’s writers may have something interesting to write about that sparks fair and/or in-depth discussions about the food industry. Then again, maybe I’ll be eating this comment a week from now when it’s all bright-eyed brainwashing.

    At the end of the day, if ScienceBlogs needs cash and players like PepsiCo are willing to hand it over for a little space, there may be a way to make it work without alienating (too many) members of the community here. What that looks like is beyond me, but corralling their space off into a new section that’s independent of editorial blogging such as your own would be a start. I.e. an “advertiser blogs” group with a different color scheme/style, clear designation of pay-for-play on each post, and efforts to omit the advertiser posts from news crawlers.

  7. #7 hannah j
    July 7, 2010

    good for you and the others!

  8. #8 Jon H
    July 7, 2010

    A fatal flaw was that they failed to have any representative posts ready to go up when the blog went live.

    Had they done so, and had the content been surprisingly acceptable, the reception might have been better.

    Instead we get this “Hi! Welcome to ShillBlog!” (crickets) and everyone, quite reasonably, expects the worst.

  9. #9 saç ekimi
    July 9, 2010

    mary lou;,
    Of course there are many studies showing people who smoke and drink alcohol have a much higher chances of having oral cancer. Connect the dots!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am an experienced Periodontist.
    nices comment…

  10. #10 film izle
    October 6, 2010

    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.

  11. #11 film izle
    October 21, 2010

    No argument with the second law of thermodynamics here, that one seems to be on pretty solid ground! But the train of logic above has a subtle problem in its over statement of the constraints this law places on energy flow. Given a warmer and a cooler body exchanging energy either through convection or through radiation, the fact is, energy is constantly being exchanged in both directions. The second law of thermodynamics does not apply to individual molecules, it applies to the net flow of energy in the entire system. How could it be otherwise?

  12. #12 Omegle
    March 26, 2011

    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.

  13. #13 seslikelime
    March 26, 2011

    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.