Thanks to for pointing out this excellent piece: The Failure of Tech Journalism. It addressess so much of what I have come to see as bogus about the field in which I’ve placed myself, but doesn’t mention the one thing that’s bothered me the most over the years: The fact that tech pubs disavow any responsibility for their hand in the manufacturing of reality. Not to harp on the BeOS thing, but using that as an example… if you ask any tech pub why they didn’t do more BeOS coverage, they would answer “We report on what’s popular and in use.” But they will not acknowledge that what’s popular and in use is partially so because of the role tech pubs play in making that thing or product popular to begin with.
It’s the same with the non-tech news as well of course. People think about and talk about what’s in the headlines. Is yet another little girl stuck in a well, or this week’s homerun hero, really as important as the Chinese occupation of Tibet? Nobody would say that it is. But surprisingly few Americans even know what goes on in Tibet because we’re too obsessed with Gary Condit et al. And we’re obsessed with Condit because that’s the diet we’re currently being fed.
Not being able to cover the things that I felt were most interesting, not just most popular, is the factor that drove me away from ZD to begin with. I think this whole phenomenon is central – that media does as much to create the popular mindset as it does to reflect it. But the tech media almost never acknowledges this role.