It’s been in the works for a while, but a couple of days ago the news got out via the usual combination of rumor-mongering and confidentiality-breaking that makes blogdom such a joy to work with (seriously, you want to know why it’s hard to get mainstream media types to take bloggers seriously, or keep bloggers in the loop about major decisions? Take a look at the drama surrounding any changes at ScienceBlogs…): ScienceBlogs and National Geographic are “partnering” in a way that looks an awful lot like NatGeo taking over SB.
What does this mean for this blog? I haven’t the foggiest. NatGeo promised one-on-one conversations with the individual bloggers, but barely got that process started before the news broke, so they haven’t gotten around to me yet. So I don’t know how this new partnership will be altering the terms of our deal (read that last bit in a Darth Vader voice, if you like), and how the dreaded “Standards and Practices” (that wants more of an Emperor Palpatine voice, I think) will affect my normal operations.
I don’t anticipate the S&P regime being much more than a slightly more formalized “Don’t Be a Dick” policy, something that I mostly try to do anyway. I don’t write all that much about the sort of things that lead to systematic dickishness, so I doubt it would cut that much into my normal practices. If they want to ban Toddler Blogging and silly radio-button polls, I’ll explore other options (I know what my readers want), but if they’re ok with my idiosyncratic mix of content, I’m happy to stay.
Anyway, it’ll be a while before I know anything. In the meantime, if you want something to read, the founding editor of ScienceBlogs, Christopher Mims, posted a secret history of SB on Twitter, which has been collected in chronological order here. I was one of the original 14, so it was interesting to read some of the backstory. Let’s hear it for anonymous interns!