Masterclass 46: Technology journalism
Why should you be interested in technology journalism as a specialism?
Because as a technology journalist you are a pioneer second only to a fashionista.
Don’t just take my word for it. Indeed, I nicked that idea from this Charles Arthur piece in the Guardian, so take his
He says there: “if you follow certain [technology] reporters closely you can be early in spotting trends.
“Why, though? Because technology is the second-fastest changing field in news (after fashion). You'd watch what the fashion writers are wearing to find out what's going to be in next season. It's the same with technology, but with a longer timelag.”
But tech journalism requires a major commitment if you are to be any good at it
Here’s how tech journalist Mike Butcher, European editor of TechCrunch describes his working method, according to Charles Arthur: “He writes and updates the site from all over Europe. In January he wrote that he doesn't have a work/life balance – "I have work/life hum." It started after he got an iPhone, with its email, Twitter, Facebook, web browser, calendar, text messaging, voice recorder and – most importantly – permanent, unlimited data connection.
“He says: ‘I realised that the 'background hum' of work emanating from my always-connected iPhone was a better way of describing how I now work – and live. It means I can send an important email while I'm fetching milk from the shop – or read RSS feeds while waiting for a train. And I can Twitter while waiting for my kids to get tired of the climbing frame in the park.
A model for future news organisations
"’There is no more 'balance' any more – as if there ever was – because what I am working on and interested in swaps from second to second as I use my iPhone. The internet is now an all-pervasive background 'hum' which never goes away unless I am out of battery or out of wireless signal, which is very rare.’"
Arthur goes on: “If that sounds scary, consider that TechCrunch – where Butcher is the sole full-time editorial employee, with no subeditors – may be a model for future news organisations: a low-staffed, high-readership news website attached to a money-spinning conference organiser.”
If that hasn’t put you off tech journalism – and it really shouldn’t – here’s what you’ll find in the following modules…
What we'll cover
We’ll look at how to become a tech journalist, with advice and case studies curated from:
- Pete Cashmore of Mashable,
- Rory Cellan Jones of the BBC,
- Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb
- Joanna Stern, of ABCNews.com
There’s a module on how to find, sell and tell tech stories
We take a look at what could be wrong with tech journalism – and look at those who are seeking to establish an alternative model of tech journalism, with a focus on The Kernel and The Verge.
We’ll list some star technology journalists to model yourself on.
And, in the almost total absence of journalism technology courses at university gather some thoughts on what such courses might teach, were some on-the-button academic decide to establish one.