What the papers say about IT news
Posted on 1st October 2018
Despite the fact that newspaper circulations are falling apart faster than a condemned house under a wrecking ball, print media are still an enormous influence on what we think, say and do. With that in mind, I thought a quick perusal of what some of the leading titles are saying about technology would be interesting, and perhaps revealing.
The starting premise was a search string of “technology news, newspaper name.” I also tried “business technology news, newspaper name” but the results were more or less the same.
Most disappointingly, The (Glasgow) Herald (circulation, a paltry 28,900) search took me to their “Lifestyle” pages, where reviews of Apple’s latest phone take precedence over any business technology news. In contrast, their east coast rival, The Scotsman (circulation, an even more paltry 19,500) has a lot of interesting tech news, including articles on the ethical use of data, and how Edinburgh can become the data capital of Europe.
When we look at the bigger, UK papers, which have not reduced their numbers of journalists quite so drastically as the Herald and Scotsman, it’s clear that they do report tech issues regularly, interleaving “human interest” stories with ‘”proper” business journalism and comment.
For example, The Guardian (circulation 138,000) ranges from articles on “net neutrality laws in California” to plans for a “robot brothel” in Houston (that’s Houston Texas, not Houston Renfrewshire, in case you were wondering).
On the other side of the political spectrum, The Telegraph(circulation 370,000) has an excellent spread of news and opinion on tech matters, focusing principally on the ways in which technology impacts on business and, to a lesser extent, society.
The Times(circulation 428,000) is probably the best of the lot, combining business and social tech stories and also flagging when a tech story has featured in its leadercolumns. Opinion and factual pieces mix with feature-style articles, such as Tim Berners-Lee admitting “I created a monster.”
Now you might be wondering, not unreasonably, why I’m not directing you towards the technology news in the specialist (online) press. In my view, the specialist media are preaching to the converted. The mainstream media are, despite their flagging print circulations, still major influencers and disseminators of news. When a tech story (e.g. driverless cars) features in the broadsheets*, we know it’s important and has significance beyond the “tech community.” Moreover, the big papers can still afford to pay for quality journalism from real experts, whose opinions are always worth reading. So if you are a techie and you want to know when you’re news, it’s when you feature in the press, both print and online!
Stuart Alexander, Be-IT
* even if only one of the three UK titles mentioned here actually is a broadsheet nowadays!
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