Yesterday, I learned that Pharmalot, one of the blogs I read every day, is going to close shop. The news comes as the brains behind the blog, Ed Silverman, decided to leave his employer, the Newark Star Ledger, and join Elsevier. As the WSJ Health Blog points out, the Ledger, like many daily papers that are facing challenging times, cut 40% of its staff -- and Ed decided to take a package.
I'm really going to miss Pharmalot. As I said, I read it every day -- but not just for the posts. It's the comments that I often find most intriguing. Through Pharmalot, Ed tapped into a community of people who are interested about the business of healthcare -- from people who may work for one of the companies that make New Jersey the "medicine chest for the nation" -- to people who are simply interested in health. In his final post (which is well worth reading) Ed sums this up well:
And what a community. Some of you angrily attacked pharma. Some of you vociferously defended it. So often, there were many different perspectives on any number of topics. Whatever the point of view, the discussions were extremely informative. Certainly, for me. Thanks to the thousands and thousands of comments posted here, I have learned a great deal about the business, science and policy issues that shape and confront this industry. Hopefully, many of you feel the same way. After all, no one has cornered the market on knowledge, try as we may.
It is this kind of community -- that shares, challenges and provides additional information and new perspectives -- that makes blogs so compelling. As Ed says, through reading the comments to his posts he has "learned a great deal about the business" -- and as a reader, I have had the same experience. Now how can more traditional "one-way" communications tools ever hope to compete with that?
Anyway, though I know some of my peers in the healthcare industry have had their differences with Ed, I've always found him a good, solid reporter, and I wish him all the best in his new job -- and, for that matter, in all that he does. But more than that, I just one day hope to see him return to the blogosphere.