Writing About Tech Is Amazing …If You Love Tech
There’s an unfortunate story sharing the “confessions” of a tech journalist here. Except none of these are “confessions,” as in the kind everyone on both sides of the table (PR people and media pros) doesn’t already know about. Not. A. Single. One.
The only one who didn’t know it, unfortunately, was the writer. The above image from Arrested Development (or video here) basically describes what happened. Let’s go through just a brief summary of the complaints, although do read her story linked above first.
She complains about the 24-hour news cycle and need to always be on / write 5 stories a day. OK, sure, but the best voices in tech, save for the occasional scoop, don’t worry about being “first” they worry about being best and adding context and value. A great example of this is my friend Mike Masnick who writes at Techdirt. He’s rarely first, but his viewpoint is always worth reading. Also it’s notable he’s written 45K+ posts over more than a decade at Techdirt. That takes passion and dedication which is kind of the point. You can rush to be first if you want but really what’s the point? You’re not building a voice behind your ideas with this.
Next up are complaints about bad pitching. I totally hear the author here. We get bad pitches all the time at The Future Buzz. I have an inbox just for this blog that gets at minimum 10-15 per day. Most suck. But guess what? I don’t complain about this, I use filtering, rules and a discerning eye to get through it. And I batch task. This is really not that time consuming with experience. Most media (myself included) have learned to work with brands and businesses and are efficient at sourcing the right material. It’s NBD.
Then, the author basically trashes PR firms and people. As an ex-PR person and current blogger who loves working with good PR people, the blanket statements made show an all-out naivety for the industry being reported. They might describe some chop shops, sure, but it is unfair to trash an entire industry without a better understanding of the process. I’d actually love to see her go work for a quality PR firm and gain a bit more respect for the craft and update her post or write a new perspective. Done properly it’s a symbiotic relationship but it’s clear she didn’t develop that with anyone which is unfortunate.
The final statement she makes, and I quote “people are jerks” is just sad. First of all, welcome to the internet. Who doesn’t know commenters can be jerks sometimes? Is it 1999? I find it odd a tech journalist would say this particularly when people being snarky online is basically how the web works. But more than that, our industry is passionate. And frequently passionate people are seen as jerks, but they just really care about and defend a perspective. It’s also sad someone covering an industry thinks this of the very people they are trying to reach. It’s clear this is not for her.
It goes to show you the importance of doing due diligence behind any job you take, company you invest in, or anything really. A conversation with someone covering tech (blogger, journalist you name it) would have uncovered all this stuff.
So why am I writing a response today? Because writing about technology, researching companies and being a part of our community and industry is amazing. I’ve written thousands of posts at the intersection of tech and marketing (and both separately) for nearly 8 years as a labor of love here and on trades. I loved it going in (I’d been a music industry blogger prior) and continue to love it. You have to. This should be a lesson for any young people just starting out: I think you should write about it on your own site and others for a few years before you decide to go at it full time. You’ll get the right sense of it before you commit and not have the above negative experience, because you’ll know if it’s for you or not.