OLD Media Moves

Rethinking tech coverage at the New York Times

August 20, 2014

Posted by Chris Roush

Matt Buchanan of The Awl writes about technology coverage at The New York Times and how it has spread to other sections but remains subservient in the business section.

Buchanan writes, “While reporters at large papers frequently move around and often change beats—especially at the Times—all of these reporters continue to cover technology, just not from the tech desk. Nick Bilton, its most famous writer, who lives in the future and watched Twitter get hatched, now runs his “Disruptions” column in the Styles section; Claire Cain Miller now covers “tech + gender/work/family” at the Times‘ explainer site, the Upshot; Jenna Wortham, its brightest star, recently decamped for Sunday Business, where she continues to cover technology and culture; and it was announced the other week that David Stretfield, a Pulitzer Prize-winner for his work on the Times‘ remarkable iEconomy series about Apple’s supply chain, while not technically leaving the technology desk, was taking on a ‘wider role as an enterprise correspondent’ and would ‘contribute pieces to other sections of the paper, including the Sunday Magazine, and will expand his portfolio to take on topics beyond tech.’

“These moves are partly because the tech desk is tightly circumscribed, in both content and form, by its placement within and subservient to the business section, a structure that, to the outside world, makes less and less sense every day. This is why other sections, in particular Styles, always free to cover whatever, have been been able to colonize the far more interesting and fertile field of cultural technology coverage at a relentless pace. (Even many of the technology section’s occasionally ambitious and captivating stories about how technology is changing how we live that truly intersect with business, like Vindu Goel‘s piece on how Facebook sold us krill oil, have been published in Sunday Business.)

“It’s also because the section, rather than being a natural showcase for the Times‘ more technologically innovative forms of reporting, is run fairly conservatively by the current editor, Suzanne Spector, who landed the job after a Game of Thrones-like chain of events.”

Read more here.

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