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2 thoughts on “Tips for blogging from meetings”

  1. Eva, having been through this recently, as you know, I’d add something.

    You write: “If the meeting organizer says that you’re not allowed to blog anything from the meeting, don’t do it. If they give you permission, save that correspondence in case you get into an unexpected conflict later. (This is why e-mail is better than asking in person!)”

    I have twice asked for and received written permission to blog from conferences, and in the first did not avoid and in the second narrowly avoided conflict over it.

    The problem is that usually there is more than one conference organizer, and (a) the other organizers may not recognize their authority to agree to a blogging policy for all of them, and (b) the ATTENDEES may not agree to it, either.

    At the last conference I blogged in tandem, I went up to the mike after the first session or two, at the invitation of a second organizer, and orally informed everyone who had come to a plenary lecture – presumably really everyone – that we were blogging about the conference, and that we would contact by e-mail the speakers whom we planned on featuring before going live with the article, to check the comfort level of disclosure. And I quietly axed live-tweeting, which I’ve done from other conferences rather unwittingly to no apparent lasting damage.

    It was a fastidious pain, and made me feel much more like a reporter than an attendee.

    The ISSCR also had (at least in Philadelphia) a very open blogging/tweeting policy, which I found incredibly refreshing. Good to hear about Society for Neuroscience.

  2. Yes,the ISSCR was indeed very clear again this year, and only said “there is an embargo that ends at the start of the talk”. So you couldn’t write about an abstract you saw in the program if the talk hadn’t yet occurred.

    Most meetings that have an explicit policy have the same one as Keystone, where you need to ask speakers individually to check if they’re okay with it.

    For the Node we recommend to ask the organizers about the policy if it’s not explicit, and then also check with the individual speakers if they aren’t aware someone is writing about the meeting. If you write about published data, find the matching publication and link to it. If there is no paper to be found, it’s either not yet submitted for publication, or in review/press, and possibly embargoed, so the speaker may or may not be okay with it, and that’s a key thing to check. The speakers at the ISSCR meeting knew that there were media and bloggers present, so they didn’t need the extra reminder, but especially at meetings without a published media policy they might think that “nobody is watching”.

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