In the past fifteen years, digital technologies—from the Internet to the Internet of things—have dramatically reshaped the operations of nearly every industry on earth and the exercising of individual rights. Essential accountability reporting—on everything from politics to privacy, crime to commerce—relies on a deep and critical understanding of the digital technologies that now permeate nearly every corner of both public and private life, as well as how to effectively use those technologies to report on the issues they generate.
There’s already a handful of tech reporters all over the world doing this kind of work, but most people think tech reporters write iPhone reviews. That is not true. I’m one of those tech reporters. I’ve never written a gadget review. We need more reporters who do this kind of work. And we need more publications that encourage it. Technology is becoming pervasive in our lives. Critical components of our world are increasingly becoming more dependent on the internet. We're putting critical infrastructure, and home appliances online. Larger and larger swaths on the information/media ecosystem are more and more dependent on Google and Facebook. Nations have already successfully swayed other nations' elections or at least popular beliefs with mediocre and cheap disinformation campaigns on social media.
Now more than ever we can't afford to have a tech press that just waits for these multi-billion dollar giants to give them access and embargoes in exchange for puff pieces. We need critical technology reporting. We need 5,000-word investigative pieces, not 5,000-word iPhone reviews. The tech press needs to be better because no one should care more about how the new iPhone camera is as opposed to Amazon or Tesla's questionable labor practices; or the rampant sexism of Silicon Valley.
In this session, Lorenzo will highlight one case study of critical technology reporting from his own experience, and a few famous ones from other publications to show how important this work is, and to hopefully encourage younger reporters to get into tech reporting, and to hopefully encourage journalism schools to teach these courses as well.