Superbug

Regretfully, goodbye.

Let me tell you a little story about my first husband.

We met when I was in graduate school. He was a foreign journalist working in America and I interned where he worked. I left town, finished my degree, moved back. We reconnected, got married, and were considered enough of a catch — two sharp young thrusters, an investigative reporter and an editor — to be head-hunted by a large paper in the Midwest.

To defuse romantic nostalgia, it is important to say that he was unsuited to marriage, with outsize appetites for beer and for women who were not me. But he was perfectly adapted to journalism, smart, bold, adored by his staff, and rising up the professional ladder fast enough to leave contrails.

We had not been at that paper very long when stupid actions by his supervisors confronted him with a choice that no one who loves their work wants to make: Stay and be ethically compromised, or leave with intact standards and an empty wallet. He chose to leave, yanking the brakes on his trajectory and blowing up his career.

I’ve always admired that action. I always wondered whether, faced with a similar situation, I’d be that brave.

Which is my way of saying that I’m leaving Scienceblogs.

I am I think the youngest sibling, having arrived 7 weeks ago after 3+ years at Blogger. I was flattered to be asked to join the excellent bloggers here and energized to be in a network. The Pepsi debacle was a grave disappointment. The follow-on revelations of what appear to be earlier questionable actions by Seed Media Group (here, here and here) are disturbing.

But what troubles me most, going forward, is Seed Media’s glacially paced and indifferent communication with its bloggers, whose frustration was captured yesterday by PZ Myers and even more by Bora Z in a masterful must-read analysis. Without open and complete communication — accountability, transparency, sunlight — I can’t feel secure that I won’t be ethically compromised again.

That experience with my ex — which also derailed my career for a while, because of course I left the paper with him — taught me that the pain of an ethically based decision is an almost infallible guide to its correctness. Sacrificing my connection to this community, its mouthy contentiousness, fearsome expertise and generous welcomes — and yeah, its traffic and its page ranks and its reputation — hurts.

And therefore I’m sure it’s the right thing to do.

I‘ll be resuming blogging for the time being at least at my old Blogger site, now renamed Superbugtheblog.com. If Superbug finds a new home, I’ll make the announcement there also.

As of September 2010, SUPERBUG will be joining Wired.com’s new line-up of “all-star science blogs” at this page.

I hope to see some of you there. Thank you for our time together here.

Comments

  1. #1 Brian Switek
    July 20, 2010

    Leaving Sb does hurt (and that’s putting it lightly), but I am glad that Superbug will survive. Keep up the great work, Maryn – we will follow your writing wherever you take it.

  2. #2 Seth Roberts
    July 21, 2010

    I don’t get it. Why does the fact that it hurts mean it is correct? I find it hard to imagine life is that simple.

  3. #3 kare Anderson
    October 12, 2010

    As a former journalist I found your post captivating on most levels – the moral inherent in it and the start-with-a-relevant story approach. You will do well, methinks, whatever next chapter your turn the page to create for the adventure story you want your life to be next

  4. #4 superbug
    May 31, 2011

    I’ve already started reading your on your site Superbugtheblog and agree with kare anderson.

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