Tech journalism has lost its way, according to the cynics. Some prominent journalist or ex-journalist makes this type of remark every few months. It’s too negative. It’s too positive. It’s filled with too much tech jargon.
While the criticisms are all legitimate, I’ve never been more optimistic about the future of technology journalism. Yes, I’m serious — 2014 will probably be the best year for tech journalism in a long, long time.
Good journalists are cynics and skeptics by their very nature. This is essential to the DNA of great reporting. The press must remain skeptical of those in power and of those who wield power in order to keep power in check. Without it, you get China, the NSA and **CENSORED**.
That’s why it doesn’t surprise me that tech journalists are cynical about themselves and their industry. But let me point out a couple of recent developments in the tech journo world:
- Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg, two of the best journalists in ANY industry, have created Re/code, a top-tier hub for amazing journalism and opinion. Their team’s track record at AllThingsD makes me optimistic that Re/code will be serving high-quality content for a very, very long time.
- WSJ has doubled down on its tech journalism with the launch of WSDJ, adding great reviewers/reporters like Joanna Stern and Doug MacMillan to their team.
- Former WSJ reporter Jessica Lessin launched The Information, a subscription news service with a team of high quality journalists. Read their stories, and you know they care about the quality of their pieces.
- David Pogue just launched the new Yahoo Tech, a tech news and reviews site for the regular person.
- Valleywag. (It may feel like a Silicon Valley institution, but it only came back last year.)
These new publications provide an incredible breadth and variety of content and a variety of fresh perspectives to the ecosystem. If you want more business intelligence, there’s The Information. If you think the tech elite need to be knocked down a couple of pegs, there’s Valleywag. And if your “Can you fix my computer again?” aunt starts asking about the new iPad, there’s Yahoo.
So while any one individual publication has its flaws (some more serious than others), I believe there are more than enough options and quality journalists in the ecosystem today to give everybody what they want. More than ever, in fact.
If one publication drops in quality, there are plenty of others to take its place. And if one publication is too positive, there’s another to balance it out.
Let’s not forget that tech journalism has expanded into the mainstream. Al Jazeera America, for example, recently hired former Popular Scientist editor Jacob Ward to be their technology and science correspondent. The Bloomberg tech TV show, Bloomberg West, has done a fantastic job with Emily Chang in the anchor’s chair — so well, in fact, that Bloomberg TV doubled the show’s broadcasting hours last year.
There are more high quality journalists than ever covering tech from more perspectives and viewpoints than ever. So no, I don’t think tech journalism is broken. I think it’s in better shape than ever.