Reading and writing

Science journalism

Ever since reading my grandfather’s Popular Science and Popular Mechanics magazines as a kid, and later subscribing to the kids’ science magazine Odyssey, I’ve had a thing for sci-tech publications, so two news items this week pricked up my interest.

Seed Magazine returns this month, after almost a year off. I’ve been looking for a new issue for months, with no luck, so this is happy news. I started reading with the second issue and loved its emphasis on science and culture. Its publisher, Seed Media Group, secured a new round of capitalization and is poised to launch ventures online, on television, and in other media. The website, which just yesterday featured content from the magazine’s last issue, a year ago, is now vacant pending a relaunch.

I love Seed‘s mission: to increase public awareness of science to equip citizens to understand the fast-changing world around them. To that end, it features a mix of short fiction, interviews, conversations between scientists and writers, profiles of artists whose works incorporate science themes, and voters’ guides to science issues in political campaigns.

But it was often plagued by lateness. Its worthwhile series about science issues and the 2004 presidential campaign published its final voters’ guide after the November election, and its calendar of upcoming events often featured stuff that had already come and gone. I’m hoping the new financing will help Seed address these problems.

I was also frustrated that after an initial round of blogger and web interest (Boing Boing called it Maxim for science writing, which was a bit facile), it seemed to drop off the radar, and I could never find anything online, whether from official sources or connected bloggers, to explain its absence from newsstands.

However, I’m glad it’s back, because I think the magazine plugs a big hole in the media.

[Links: WWD Memo Pad: Seed Money ... Art Of Style; Seed Media Group; Seed Magazine Online]

Also, there’s word today that Bob Guccione Jr. is buying Discover magazine from Disney. Old-timers might recall that isn’t the Guccione family’s first attempt at science publishing.

Omni began in the late 1970s and featured articles and fiction, usually wrapped up in lovely cover paintings. I remember reading it as a kid, and although I don’t really recall much about the contents, I do remember really enjoying the hell out of it. The Wikipedia page did remind me, though, that I first read portions of Stephen King’s Firestarter in its pages.

I’ve never really cared for Discover. (I’d rather see a resurrected Omni.) If Seed is Maxim for science writing, Discover is probably TV Guide. But its good to see the Gucciones back in popular-science.

[Links: New York Times: Disney's Discover Magazine Soon to Have a New Owner; Omni (magazine)]

Be smart, by the way, and do not try out omnimag.com on a whim, for it now leads to penthouse.com.

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3 thoughts on “Science journalism

  1. That’s a good point. The magazine’s site (which now just redirects to the media group’s page) used to reproduce the mag’s masthead, if I recall correctly. Let’s see what happens when/if the magazine returns to newsstands and when/if its contents are mirrored online.

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