Lance Ulanoff of Mashable interviewed Wall Street Journal technology columnist Walt Mossberg, who is leaving the paper at the end of the year and started a new tech news site with colleague Kara Swisher.
Here is an excerpt:
Did you always plan to go into tech journalism?
I spent 19 years as a Washington reporter covering a variety of beats. Right before [the WSJ column], I was the national security correspondent for the Journal, covering policy and military and the intelligence community. I was doing that at the very end of the Cold War and in the months before the Gulf War. I have on my wall right now a front page of the Journal from January 1991, when I co-wrote a front-page story about Iraq firing missiles at Israel. By October, I was writing about tech products.
The Journal had tentatively agreed to my proposal [to launch a personal tech column] a year before, but had asked me to stay on a year. It was pretty clear the Soviet Union was wobbling. They didn’t want to change correspondents. The last really big story I covered was the Gulf War.
I did not have a plan to do this all along. I became a computer hobbyist. In those days, it was in the BASIC programming language and learning to solder inside my computer. My first computers were a Timex Sinclair and an Apple II. [Becoming a tech journalist] only occurred to me around 1990. I realized two things: This was going to blow up — this use of digital devices, the PC and the Mac — and that it was going to be very hard for average non-tech people to figure things out. There was a need for a column that seems unremarkable today.
Read more here.