Being on the inside

A few more thoughts on the journalism-tech debate

Twitter is especially stupid right now, but I got into the mix so I’m sticking around the edges of the journalism-technology industry brouhaha.

After being on TWiT for the past few hours, I want to broadly log off for a bit. First, however, two quick things:

  1. This Chris Anderson piece has some merit. I’d read it. I don’t agree with all of it but the point about journalists being business-illiterate isn’t entirely wrong. I’m lucky that I got into business before journalism, something that has provided an incredibly useful foundation for my work. Also, during my roughly 2.5 years at Crunchbase as a member of the executive team, I was in the room for a lot of hard choices, planning, OKR setting, corporate values rejiggering, and reported to the board quarterly for a while. That experience was invaluable for my current work reporting on startups. But, it’s impossible to get every reporter who covers startups the same experience. What is possible is startups sharing more so that external parties can better understand them. Let’s start there.

  2. I keep getting DMs from folks about the debate, and one from a reporter stuck in my head. It went something like this: ‘Tech folks are demanding that we learn their business in greater depth before covering it, but they are also largely making zero effort to learn about how newsrooms/reporting work.’ Yep.

  3. One more thing, I suppose. The idea that reporters are trying to take down startups or other tech shops to drive revenue via traffic continues to amaze me — the idea that clickbait is somehow a functional approach to building a successful, stable, journalism shop long-term. It’s not. But the repeated charge is clarifying in that the people making it appear to only have a money-based perspective. Of course journalists are doing this or that for money, what other motive could they have? A huge cultural disconnect is that Silicon Valley types don’t get that most reporters could make more money doing something else. Anything else, really. The folks making the argument are telling on themselves in a way that I enjoy.

Off to do some family time. - Alex