It’s Summer So Tech News Bitchmeme

“One downside of being in a visible leadership position is that you often have a bulls-eye on your back.”

These words were written exactly five years ago, to this very date even, in response to the incessant critiques of the day about TechCrunch and its symbiotic aggregator Techmeme.

Perhaps those who still work at TechCrunch should be flattered that exactly half a decade later, that bulls-eye is still there? A slow summer news week and the misreporting of a startup’s collapse (not by us) has called into question our very purpose, again. And again.

For those of you who have forgotten that purpose, it is to be a leading technology blog that focuses on startups and breaking news pertaining to startups.

As the tech blogging and startup ecosystems become even more saturated, this purpose gets reframed by competitors and the armchair media enthusiasts who love them. Tech blogs get positioned — for mostly competitive reasons — as either as industry cheerleaders, or as too cynical or too fluffy when we don’t break once-in-a lifetime stories like NSA PRISM.

Yeah, I’m sorry we didn’t get that one too.

Because breaking news is a religion at TechCrunch. Yes, sometimes that means reblogging, and hopefully analyzing, announcements (or press releases). And sometimes that means risking being wrong in order to eventually be right.

The greatest work done at TC is a result of a very public news refinement process, when, for example, a scoop about a possible Facebook product launch leads to another scoop about a Facebook product launch.

The worst work done there, like in the case of the fake ICOA press release, is the result of pure human error.

Despite the 20% or whatever percentage risk of being totally wrong on a story, the process part of TC is still the best part of writing at TC, though not always the easiest: When we make a mistake, we usually admit it quickly, loudly and proceed to feel absolutely horrible about it for weeks.

Is TechCrunch a trade publication? Not entirely, though it does perform similar announcement-type functions. If you’d like to be specific, I would argue that we’re a hybrid of a trade pub, journalistic organization and plain old Internet blog — filtering announcements, pushing forward credible tech rumors, providing analysis and startup culture coverage, and yes, the occasional industry critique.

It’s as if people holding us up to the standards of traditional journalism, again, have never read TC. Or wrote there themselves.

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