Tuesday, April 5

zimmity zim zim

One of my favorite science writers, Carl Zimmer, posts all or most of his articles on his homepage, cleverly hidden at the address carlzimmer.com. Seeing that a magazine had an article by him used to make me buy it, but no more. He must have an unusual contract where he retains rights to the articles after they first appear elsewhere. But you can demand such a contract when you've won the AAAS Science Journalism award.

Zimmer's blog, The Loom, has more stuff, too: notices of his latest stories, commentaries on others' work, details of things he left out of his pieces.

His latest article, on the evolution of snake venoms, is on the same research that I wrote about a few weeks ago when the findings were first released.

That's one of the advantages he has writing for a general audience newspaper as opposed to a magazine aimed mostly at scientists: you don't have to be right on the cutting edge. A veteran newspaper science writer I met at a conference once told me that to put something in the newspaper, it just has to be news to your readers. So it doesn't have to be brand new, and people often forget things. So it relaxes the rules a lot.

This is not to knock Zimmer. I'm just envious of his position.


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