Being a tech journalist

Continuing the discussion from Journalism: critiques, discussion, ideas:

I wonder where the sweet spot is for this. So much of articles about tech come down to inside baseball, and I feel that I didn’t really understand half of what I read until I started learning about VC and startup culture (because we are close to Silicon Valley).

I suppose one could see it as an opportunity to provide context for folks that wouldn’t normally be paying attention to such things. Like being a tech journalist for a newspaper that doesn’t have a strong tech community.

I used to read this thing called ComputerEdge, when I lived in San Diego County (it was a free local printed magazine thing). Its website is super weird now! Anyhow, it was interesting because it had articles on new tech, mixed with reviews and tutorials. Despite the general weirdness of that industry (ad-run print magazines), I always thought it was pretty good, and I learned a lot from it.

Re: inside baseball. This is true, and one thing that amuses me about “gamergate” is that while there has been a huge outburst of vitriol about the way game journalists are friends or involved in some way with the developers they cover, the same hasn’t happened for tech journalists. If you subtract all the misogynist spleen (which, okay, is most of “gamergate” and this exercise may not be worthwhile) there are a few valid objections about game journalists often being used as industry PR. And well before “gamergate” there were a few high profile incidents of reviewers essentially guaranteeing high review scores, and also taking ad money from the same companies…

The same is true about tech journos! And it’s a risk in journalism in general. It’s one of the things that goes along with covering an industry - part of your job is to give people the exciting announcements they want to know about.

When I was covering Tesla’s new plans for a rechargeable home battery - practically a power plant, if you network the batteries and pair them with a rooftop solar array - it was hard to separate out the company’s futurism from the actual practical worth of the tech.

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Haha, that sounds awesome!

Tech journalism is hard… :slight_smile: