I’ve reached something of a turning point here….

Since I put my blog up only a couple of months ago, I’ve attracted a regular readership that draws from not just the few space fans and friends I thought it would, but also the main reporters working the field and many of the engineers and managers of the spaceship companies I write about.

I must say I was a bit unprepared for such quick success, and until last week, I blithely went along posting anything that came to mind, dashing off opinions and handling facts and research less carefully than I did for my “legitimate” print articles. I used the blog as a kind of personal sounding board to generate article ideas and think aloud about the work I did for my magazine and newswire work.

For instance, last week I banged out a post about competing spaceship companies in my usual mode. Only difference here was that I cast doubt on the feasibility of one of them. I also reported unverified hearsay as one of my data points, which turned out to be false. Man, did I get hammered by my readers. And I touched off some valuable discussion about the merits of various technologies for reaching space and how to evaluate them. All of which will help me better research my print articles.

What I should have done was to raise the concerns I had as a way to solicit the kind of feedback I ended up getting, without passing judgment before I had all the facts in. Certainly, I owe it to my readers to report on my subjects fairly and accurately and to clearly distinguish fact from opinion. I’ll do better from now on.