Spiers: Tech journalism is not overwhelmingly negative
Elizabeth Spiers, the former editor of the New York Observer and founder of the Dealbreaker website, writes about the relationship between tech investors and CEOS and the journalists who cover them.
Spiers writes, “There’s also a related fallacy that’s not universal, but inasmuch as it exists, it seems uniquely endemic to tech: the idea that tech journalism should support the tech industry. This interprets journalism as public relations, which it is not. Journalists are not supposed to cheerlead the industry; they’re supposed to cover it, and that means writing the good things and the bad with no overriding preference for one over the other.
“‘But tech journalism is overwhelmingly negative!’ I hear a self-described empiricist whining somewhere on Twitter. No it is not, my friends. You just don’t notice it when it isn’t. This is a cognitive bias: your brain is wired to perceive threats in a way that it does not perceive neutral or positive information. If tech journalism were overwhelmingly negative, tech culture would be very different. Entrepreneurs with mediocre ideas would not be hailed as innovators. The tech industry itself would not be able to claim repeatedly, with a straight face, that everything it does is ‘changing the world.’ People would not aspire to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, even though Zuckerberg has many disturbing qualities that should not be replicated outside of computer simulations.
“You also would not know about all of the things that the industry actually does produce that are wonderful, and exciting, and making things better. When you do know about these things, it’s usually because some stupid malicious journalist wrote that story in a publication you read. People are largely unaware of where they get their information because so much of it is consumed ambiently and without conscious direction.”
Read more here.