The state of tech journalism, according to Casey Newton
Big Technology founder Alex Kantrowitz sat down with Casey Newton, Silicon Valley editor at the Verge, to discuss the state of tech journalism.
Alex Kantrowitz: Let’s start with the question that’s on everyone’s mind — Is the tech press bad?
Casey Newton: No, the tech press is really good. The tech press, I think, has done probably the best work of its life collectively over the past four years. I feel like I have a much better understanding of the inner workings of the biggest technology platforms today than I’ve ever had, and it’s because of the incredible work that so many people are doing around the country and the world.
Why do so many people hate it then?
I think there’s a separate but related question, which is about the health of our information ecosystem more broadly. And there, I do see some trouble spots. I think there are three algorithms that have reshaped the American press in ways that we are just now starting to confront. You have Google and Facebook, which can serve up this incredible fire hose of traffic to publishers so long as they cater to the ever-shifting whims of that algorithm.
And that has just resulted in a lot of really cheap-to-produce content like “what time is the Super Bowl” and “John Oliver destroyed this industry last night. Here’s the clip.” And all of that stuff is mostly harmless, but it has robbed publications of their individual identities. So, every website is just a version of every other website, and I think that has kind of undermined trust in the press generally because there’s just kind of a sameness to it.
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