Discover responds to departures of prominent bloggers

Curtis Brainard at the Columbia Journalism Review's The Observatory has talked to Discover magazine for a reaction to the recent blogger exodus that Deborah Blum covered here at the Tracker.

A week ago, news broke that  Ed Yong (his blog is Not Exactly Rocket Science) and Carl Zimmer (The Loom) were leaving Discover for National Geographic's new Phenomena blogging collective to be run by National Geographic science editor Jamie ShreevePhil Plait (Bad Astronomyleft Discover in early November for Slate. And the physicist and blogger Sean Carroll took his blog to his own site.

Kevin Keefe, Discover's publisher, told Brainard:

We’re disappointed to see all these people leave, because we like them a lot and we’re very proud of having the role that we did in bringing their blogs to a wider audience. But our philosophy and our strategy regarding bloggers hasn’t changed. We launched a new website a couple weeks ago. We’re very proud of it. We’re proud of how it looks. We’re proud of how it works. And the blogging platform is very prominent on the site.

Keefe noted that he recruited the environmental blogger Kevin Kloor, the author of Collide-a-Scape, which has just begun appearing at Discover. “We’re happy to have Keith join us for a number of reasons,” Keefe told Brainard. “He’s had a long and positive relationship with Discover and other science media. We like the profile he’s established in the field, and we certainly like how he writes and thinks.”

The changes come in the wake of the decision last summer by Discover's owner, the Kalmbach Publishing Co., to move the magazine from New York to Kalmbach's headquarters in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Nobody in New York moved to Wisconsin, meaning that Discover had to hire all new people. Executive Editor Pamela Weintraub and former editor in chief Corey Powell will contribute from New York. Brainard reports that Powell will take over the magazine's space column, "Out There," which will also appear as a blog on the website.

-Paul Raeburn

(Disclosure: I write regularly for Discover and have contributed to the "Out There" column.)

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