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

Are Tech Blogs Exempt From Journalism?!

Posted by Tom Foremski - July 19, 2013

Kevin Roose, writing in New York Magazine, defends "tech blogs" Techcrunch and PandoDaily from critics saying they should be considered "trade publications" instead of impartial publications.

Let Tech Blogs Celebrate Start-Ups -- Daily Intelligencer

Instead of trying to shame tech blogs into covering Silicon Valley more critically, let's stop holding them to the standards of traditional journalism and start thinking of them instead as trade publications.

In trade publications, readers don't expect searing takedowns or accountability for powerful figures. They expect news about prominent industry leaders, new and notable companies, relevant trends in the industry, and maybe a page or two of job announcements. A trade publication cheering on the industry it covers isn't a bad thing; it's the publication's entire raison d'être.

I'm pretty sure that Mr. Roose means to say, "Fanzines" rather than "trade publications" because the latter are certainly impartial news publications. 

DANTYMAN commented: 

As someone who's worked for both trade and consumer publications for the past 237 years I'm a bit appalled by the author's apparent ignorance of this distinction as well as insulted. I've been pretty damned critical of the industry that I write about (technology), as have many of my colleagues. 

But he is right in one regard: Publications like TechCrunch and PanderDaily need to figure out what they want to be -- cheerleaders or muckrackers -- and stick to one of them.

Good advice from CHORTLEVORK:

If a budding tech journalism outfit wants to serve the public interest, it will ignore Roose's advice and instead try to build trust within Silicon Valley not by being sycophantic or writing sloppy "takedowns" but by writing critically and objectively in a way that smart people will connect with.

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