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More experts writing science blogs

By Sam Boykin
Correspondent
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- Bora Zivkovic photo
Bora Zivkovic, who lives in Pittsboro, is also blog editor at Scientific American. (Bora Zivkovic photo)

Bora Zivkovic, a native of Serbia, settled in Raleigh in 1991. He received a master’s in zoology at N.C. State, and in 2006 started “A Blog Around the Clock” ( http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/a-blog-around-the-clock), which covers science, politics, the biology of sleep and social media. Zivkovic, who now lives in Pittsboro, is also blog editor at Scientific American. Follow him on Twitter @boraz.

Q: When and why did you first start blogging?

I started during the 2003 Democratic primaries on John Edwards’ campaign blog. I was fascinated by the political process, and being from Yugoslavia I provided a different perspective and new angle. I was an outsider looking in. I eventually started three different blogs, which I finally fused into one, A Blog Around the Clock.

It’s a very eclectic blog and difficult to categorize because it covers so much.

Q: What topics are you currently blogging about?

Like every writer, I have changing interests. At first I blogged about politics, and then circadian rhythms and sleep. Sometimes I review scientific literature and research, and the way it’s presented in the media.

These days I write a lot about the changing media environment, journalism, science writing and social media – what I call new media ecosystems.

Q: How has blogging changed the way science is communicated?

It has given a voice to more experts.

They can translate the jargon to normal English language with an accuracy that old-style journalists cannot do without a lot of research and interviews.

Q: Are there any drawbacks to all the new media ecosystems?

It’s a great time for science journalism – but not science journalists, because there are so many of them. There’s a bigger competition for a smaller number of jobs. So doing it professionally is becoming a lot harder.

It’s also harder to be a good generalist. People are looking for a specific expertise.

Generalists are becoming rare because very few people are capable of providing good coverage of a wide range of topics, from astronomy to zoology and everything in between.

It’s a tall order.

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