Covering the tech beat as the voice of the community
Todd Bishop, the co-founder and editor in chief of GeekWire, spoke with Sean Murphy at Chico State University about his career.
Here is an excerpt:
How do you see journalism’s role today in covering tech giants and bringing it back to the community?
At our best, we really end up asking a lot of tough questions of companies like Microsoft and Amazon, and even smaller companies, that are getting into areas where they’re pushing the envelope with things like privacy and security. Ultimately, in the broader sense, some of these stories are serving our global community, and that’s what we do at GeekWire. You’re asking and reporting things that, in many cases, people wouldn’t know already. In many ways, you’re the eyes, the ears, and the voice of the community. It’s a pretty daunting role at times, but it’s also extremely rewarding. For any community to thrive, it’s pretty critical to have the eyes, the ears, and the voice in the middle of it.
What has it been like to cover the transformation of technology?
It’s like that saying, “the days are slow and the years are fast,” when you talk about kids. I look at some of the technologies that we have today at our disposal. You’re starting to see the rise of artificial intelligence and automation. These are things that companies like Amazon and Microsoft and some of the research organizations here have been talking about for years and years. You look around and it sneaks up on you, and you suddenly say, “Wait a second, that voice translation that they were talking about for neural networks, I can see how that’s really made it better when I talk into my phone and it understands me now.” You can see the steady advance of tech, in ways that are both good and bad. I think one of the key things that we’ve covered here over the past few years is how the tech boom has had a real big social impact on Seattle. Probably one of the biggest ways that we’ve expanded our coverage is by looking at the intersection of technology and the Seattle region, and how it’s impacting not only mundane things like extra traffic, but also really meaningful things and big problems to solve, like homelessness.
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