Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Techmeme's Gabe Rivera Is More Editor Than Aggregator...

Posted by Tom Foremski - March 9, 2010

Gabe Rivera's Techmeme is the news reader of choice for much of the Silicon Valley tech-setters -- more so than Techcrunch because it has a much wider selection of articles.

I often see Gabe at press events, he has a press pass like other journalists. But is he a journalist? After all, he doesn't write any of the stories that appear on Techmeme.

It seems that the Austin based conference South By South-West (SXSW) doesn't think he's a journalist because it refused to give Gabe a press pass. Does SXSW think that Gabe's Techmeme is a simple news aggregator and therefore not media?

Probably. But Gabe is not just a software engineer with a news algorithm and a server. He's better viewed as the editor-in-chief of Techmeme with a large staff of editors. Techmeme does use an algorithm to try and surface news that is interesting but that's not enough. He has five editors that curate what appears on Techmeme and its sister sites.

Also, Gabe has told me that he sometimes 'commissions' stories. He will sometimes tell bloggers that he would love to see a story on a particular subject, or he'd like to see coverage of a conference. That's the work of an editor-in-chief, not a software engineer.

So SXSW should definitely give Gabe a press pass. (BTW - Editors are journalists.)

I wonder how long before Gabe's editorial team start writing stories? It would seem to be a natural progression. Look out Techcrunch et al!


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