Jonah Lehrer quietly launches new blog, gets Gladwell boost

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Jeremy Barr

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On March 28, disgraced ex-New Yorker writer Jonah Lehrer quietly launched a blog under his own name.

On Thursday, he got a Twitter boost from an unlikely source.

“Jonah Lehrer is back with a new blog. It is well worth reading. Welcome back Jonah,” wrote Malcolm Gladwell, who was among the writers “cribbed” by Lehrer in one of the most high-profile media ethics cases of the last few years. Lehrer also recycled, or “self-plagiarized,” chunks of his own content, all of which put the brakes on his then-accelerating career when revealed in 2012. 

In his first post, Lehrer called the blog “a place where I can write about scientific research that interests me.” He has since written two lengthy items, one on sports viewership theories and one based on studies of materialism.

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Getting to the elephant in the room, Lehrer wrote in his debut post: “I also hope this blog can be a small step towards regaining the trust of my readers.”

Lehrer also said that “all material will be sent to the relevant researchers for their approval,” and that independent fact-checkers will be called in if need be.

Lehrer has been feeling his way back into public life recently. At about the same time he launched the blog, he participated in a creativity conference at the University Of Minnesota Duluth, waiving his speaker's fee, as Romenesko reported. (In 2013, he was paid $20,000 for an appearance at a Knight Foundation conference.)

Gladwell gave a nuanced answer when asked in June 2012 about Lehrer’s ethical transgressions.

“The conventions over blogging are being worked out as we speak," Gladwell told W.W.D. "Everyone who writes for a living is going to learn from this. I'm just sorry Jonah had to bear the brunt of it."