A similiar sentiment was sounded by Bora Zivkovic, a brash North Carolina science blogger who writes “A Blog Around the Clock,” a site read by many science writers. “The whole war between journalists and bloggers is over and whoever mentions it is a dinosaur who has missed that the 21st century is already ten years in,” he said. Zivkovic is also the online discussion expert for the open-access online-only journal PLoS.
Ironically, Zivkovic says that he was initially turned down for press credentials at AAAS due to confusion over his status. He had already received a meeting credential as a speaker affiliated with PLoS, which resulted in confusion because AAAS does not issue newsroom badges for editors of scientific journals (nor are credentials issued to scientists, investment analysts, advertising or marketing professionals, lobbyists, representatives of advocacy and special interest organizations). Credentials are offered to “career science communicators,” including working reporters, producers, editors and freelancers as well as public information officers for universities and research institutions, journalism professors and journalism students, according to the AAAS Web site.
Zivkovic, who blogged about his experience Monday evening after being contacted by CJR to obtain details, was later granted press privileges, said AAAS Senior Communications Officer Earl Lane. “I questioned whether [Zivkovic] was a journal editor. He assured me he was a member of the communications staff at PLoS, and we offered him a newsroom credential on that basis,” Lane said.
Overall, press credentials for the AAAS annual meeting are offered to bloggers on a case-by-case basis, Lane said, and like other approved applicants for credentials, bloggers “should not have dual affiliations as marketing professionals, lobbyists, representatives of advocacy groups, or journal editors,” he said. “The online world continues to evolve and our newsroom policies will evolve as well. Bloggers who do original reporting and adhere to the standards of traditional science journalism are more than welcome at the AAAS Annual Meeting.”
He said that this year about 700 people registered with the AAAS newsroom, including about 200 from the international media. Even with increased online representation, there were nonetheless many U.K. and European newspaper and magazine reporters as well as traditional U.S. media, including the Associated Press, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times, as well as coverage by the local daily paper, the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Editor’s Note: Cristine Russell organized and moderated the AAAS Symposium, “Facing the Uncertain Future of International Science Journalism.”