Wednesday, January 06, 2016

CIRM's Approach to Stem Cell Blogging: The Full Text

The California Stem Cell Report asked the California stem cell agency for a run down on how it approaches its blog, which in December was rated the top stem cell blog of 2015 by The Niche, another stem cell blog published by UC Davis researcher Paul Knoepfler.

Kevin McCormack, senior director for communications, replied,
"It was very flattering obviously to learn that Paul had named us as the #1 stem cell blog. We’ve been working hard to make our blog as engaging and thoughtful, and fun, as possible and this was vindication that at least in his eyes we had succeeded.

"Our is really quite simple. We look for what we think are the best, most interesting stories out there, and then write about them. Obviously we like to highlight stories about research we are funding but more often than not we’re just looking for something new, something fresh, something that sheds a new light on research in general or on tackling a particular disease or problem in particular.

"We try to divide it up so that we all write a blog every week, that way we get different voices and flavors in the mix. I think that’s important for a number of reasons. One, it creates a sense that this is truly a team blog, and two, it allows each of us to take a little bit more time in writing each piece, to make sure we get it right and to do it in a way that is most interesting and accessible for our audience.

"We have a really broad range of people reading us from researchers and scientists to people with no science background (like me), so we are always mindful of trying to write in a way that allows everyone to understand what’s going on. We also try to write in a way that reflects how exciting this research is and the potential it has. But we also try to balance that by reminding people that some of this work was done in animals and needs to be replicated in people before we get carried away.

"One of the new things that Dr. Karen Ring has added, since joining us this year, is more individual profiles of young researchers. These have been popular in helping give a voice to a group of people who are often overlooked, the youngest members of the research teams, the people who represent the future of stem cell research and are the next generation of scientific stars.

"We are always looking to add new ideas, new voices to the blog. So if you have any thoughts or ideas left over from your own, let us know. We’re happy to try anything. At least once."
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