Hey tech writers, lighten up on the criticism
Criticism in tech writing has become overly pessimistic, writes Nausicaa Renner of the Columbia Journalism Review.
Renner writes, “In a recent report, Tow Fellow Sara Watson counters the narrative that criticism has to be pessimistic. There is a lot of room, she argues, for thoughtful criticism that lands somewhere between ominous narratives written by luddites and the latest gadget review, noting that this type of constructive tech criticism has the potential to shape the discourse and future of tech.
“Constructive criticism, Watson writes, ‘skews toward optimism, or at least toward an idea that future technological societies could be improved.’ By meeting readers in their daily experience of technology, it offers ‘tools and framings for thinking about their relationship to technology and their relationship to power. Beyond intellectual arguments, constructive criticism…offers frameworks for living with technology.’
“Technology writers have a great opportunity to collaborate with engineers and the like to shape the future of tech, rather than portray it as corrosive to humanity. As technology is increasingly integrated into our lives, the work of both the journalist and the critic to document and direct it. The idea isn’t to upend the hard-won skills of balance and reporting. It’s to see criticism as a constructive part of the reporting process, a way for journalists and others to contribute, not just to gadget reviews but to a robust sense of technology, how people use it, and how it could be better.”
Read more here.