Journalism studies scholars:

Do you have any recommended articles examining how journalists cover technology? Not how journalists *use* technology, but about the "technology beat"?

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ooh, found this:

"Keeping Up with the Technologies: Distressed Journalistic Labor in the Pursuit of “Shiny” Technologies"

this one is more like what I'm looking for:

Balancing Product Reviews, Traffic Targets, and Industry Criticism: UK Technology Journalism in Practice

@robertwgehl doesn't that look like an article about how journalists *use* technology?

"Journalists were most motivated to learn new technologies to improve their employability; yet, they found it hard to keep up. Journalists also believed traditional skills, such as writing and interviewing, were more important to their jobs than digital technology skills."

@artificialphilosopher yep! I saw the title and said "YEAH" and I read the abstract and said "ugh, more of the same."

[The article does look good, though]

so back to square 1

@robertwgehl Does the work that examines how journalism was used to hype particular technology narratives also interest you?

@robertwgehl In that case the work of Fred Turner 'Where the counterculture met the new economy: The WELL and the origins of virtual community' and also 'From Counterculture to Cyberculture' document a lot of that. Then I don't have anything specific at hand but I can imagine looking more at scholarship around Wired magazine for example would be useful as well.


This came out the other day:

"This report argues that consumer technology reviewers have failed their basic nominal purpose of critiquing tools. Instead, inspired by values introduced by Apple in the late 1990s, the tech review industry prioritizes aesthetic lust as the primary critical factor for evaluating objects. The reification of these values in their scoring system is transmitted to consumers and manufacturers alike. Like other prurient things, the objects designed within this paradigm are optimized not for usefulness but for photogenic and telegenic properties, a framework that finds its fullest realization in YouTube reviews and unboxing videos. There, even the intimation of critical rigor within tech reviewing vanishes, the smartphone becomes the center of gravity, and manufacturers are even further incentivized to design products for end consumers who are less users than viewers."

@rra @robertwgehl Wish it mentioned at least once that the lack of critical review extends all the way to that most basic of things, the business model, and how it entirely leaves out privacy and other human rights considerations but otherwise a really great piece.

@aral @rra @robertwgehl Thanks -- and you're right! But we chose to explore both tech print magazines and youtube influencers. Because of that it was very easy for the scope of this analysis to grow too wide

@shibacomputer @rra @robertwgehl Fair enough. I’m just glad someone else is calling them out on their bullshit :)

@shibacomputer @rra @robertwgehl PS. Another possible angle for the future: those tech magazines are all themselves funded by adtech…

@aral @rra @robertwgehl We touch on that a bit towards the end of the essay, and reference Gizmodo's loss of access to review units as an example of this relationship between advertising, tech companies and reviewers

@shibacomputer @rra @robertwgehl Ah, must have missed it; did read the whole thing ;) (after I figured out I had to tap for the next page) :)

@rra @robertwgehl insightful and depressing reading, puts together and explains observations that informally we cumulate

this pattern of exploiting base human reactions in product design is not digital tech only: an example at hand is car design. over time it has degenerated towards oversized, scary looking monstrosities, pressumably because that sense of dominating the road is a key emotional button to press...

@rra @robertwgehl this is important work, but ffs why does the website have to be so impossibly annoying and hard to use?..

@rysiek @rra I'm afraid I agree regarding the design of the site. I could not figure out what was happening -- never seen a mouse pointer become a navigational tool before (except maybe in 1990s-era dungeon crawlers)

@robertwgehl @rysiek @rra yeah I was super confused when I first clicked the link. It wasn’t working on iOS at first.

@rra @robertwgehl is it available anywhere in an accessible, readable, single page form?

@rra @robertwgehl This follows the larger shift in tech becoming mainstream, and manufacturers chasing marketshare made up of mainstream users.

The people who had technical chops and who could write were replaced by English majors who don’t know how anything works. Since they don’t know the technical side, and don’t have a drive to understand it, they fall back to superficial details. The same way mainstream consumers do.

@rra @robertwgehl thanks for the very interesting - if somewhat uncomfortable to navigate - piece!

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