OLD Media Moves

Mossberg bids WSJ adieu

December 20, 2013

Posted by Chris Roush

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.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry daily or weekly.

Subscribe to TBN

Receive updates about new stories in the industry.