By Ngan Nguyen – z5119704
In his article “Tech journalism needs to grow up”, Michael Brendan Dougherty argues that tech publications such as The Verge, Engadget, etc. are doing nothing more than consumer guide. It is a culture of “unboxing-porn”.
Technology journalists need to free themselves from the press releases. We need more critical analyses of technology trend and their socio-historical implications.
There are several reasons why tech journalists are not interested in critical analyses discussed in Eric Jackson article. Some of the most interesting reasons are:
1. It’s easier to report the news than having an opinion on it.
2. Young tech journalists don’t have much confidence in criticism topics.
3. Any reporter assigned a particular company to cover can’t bite the hand that feeds it. An obvious example is the suspicious relationship between Apple and Chris Ziegler, founding editor of The Verge. As the result, The Verge finally had to fire him.
4. Tech is ever-increasingly complex and that makes it difficult for reporters to stay up to date.
People, or even tech journalists, tend to think of tech criticism as something like Facebook is making us lonely, Google is making us stupid, or stories criticizing tech companies, then feel afraid of this topic.
But it is wrong!
Sara Watson proposes a new approach of tech criticism called “constructive tech criticism”. Criticism technology needn’t imprison itself in the world of gloomy stories. Instead, its role is to shape the future of technology.
“Constructive technology criticism aims to bring stakeholders together in productive conversation rather than pitting them against each other… It offers readers the tools and framings for thinking about their relationship to technology and their relationship to power. Beyond intellectual arguments, constructive criticism is embodied, practical, and accessible, and it offers frameworks for living with technology.”
Sara Watson’s approach defines a new way for journalists to devote their works. It emphasizes tech criticism’s capacity of opening a public sphere for people to discuss the future of technological societies and how we can go further.
Wired’s consultancy business might be a good example of this “constructive tech criticism”. This model paves way for a new approach to tech journalists’ duty and capacity. Instead of merely reporting tech news, tech journalists can use their critical knowledge to help tech companies overcome their obstacles, shape their future strategies, benefit consumers and foster the future of technology.
What do you think of the role of technology criticism? Feel free to share us your idea in the comment section below.