Here's a New Year's resolution I'd like to see made, and kept, by all tech journalists:
Report first, then think, then write. Don't skip the first two steps, and don't get them out of order.
Computer, networking and mobile technology is changing all of human society. Journalism about tech is important. But tech journalism today is a vast wasteland of plagiarism, rumormongering, empty snark, fanboiism, trolling, unfounded assumptions and whole-cloth invention.
Innovation can be messy. In fact, I'd go so far as to say innovation should be messy, if you want real progress.
In a piece of shallow pageview-trolling that's typical of tech "journalism," PC magazine is likening Google Chrome to Internet Explorer 6 (Satan's Web browser) because it's doing things other browsers can not, as yet, do.
There's a small, private get-together under way in Phoenix this weekend called #NewsFoo that is catching some flak on Twitter as being exclusionary and elitist. Same thing happened last year, and I think also the year before. It's not public. It's not transparent. It didn't advertise and accept applications.
What strikes me most about the reactionary responses of the people Jay Rosen calls "the printies" is how often the acts of observation and analysis are identified and attacked as advocacy.
The Kindle Fire and an iPad, for size comparison.
I've had a Kindle Fire for just a few hours, so I won't pretend to write a definitive hardware review, but here are some observations:
In business, a Chinese wall is an information barrier that separates one part of the company from another. In newspapers, there's a Chinese wall between the journalism part (the newsroom) and the business part (advertising), and usually also the opinion part (the editorial page). Outsiders generally don't understand this, but left hand really doesn't know what the right hand is up to, and what's more, often don't want to know.
"Digital First!" is a great battle cry, and thank you, John Paton, for giving it to us all. It is pure leadership, a flag planted forward declaring that newspapers now see print as the past and digital as the present and future.
I suspect everybody in journalism has their own crazy lady story. I was reminded of mine last night when browsing pages in Roger Ebert's memoir, "Life Itself." Ebert was born and raised in Urbana, Ill., where I lived in the 1970s. While our paths never crossed -- he was already working in Chicago at the time -- I was struck by this reference:
For a Society of News Design panel at last weekend's conference in St. Louis, I made a list of 10 discussion points to get things going. Here they are: