I write this as hundreds of media folk are in Austin at SXSW probably dissecting what happened to GigaOm. My perspective is more as media consumer – a voracious one who scrounges hundreds of articles for my blogs and my books – and an occasional contributor – as guest columnist and interview fodder for several publications
Here is what I have seen over the last couple of decades
a) Inadequate enterprise technology coverage
Industry analysts, pubs like InformationWeek and blogging sites like ZDNet and Diginomica aside, there is strikingly little coverage of enterprise tech. I had hoped with Om and Stacey, GigaOm would have had more telecom coverage. Yes, consumer spending on technology has caught up with enterprise spend, but there are still trillions in enterprise software, telecomm, data center and other spend which do not get enough coverage. The common reasoning I hear is “that stuff is boring”. That it may be, but there is still plenty of money in that beat. Enterprises spend billions with Gartner, Forrester, user groups, consultants to get access to that coverage.
b) Even less coverage of corporate technology innovation
In my research for the book, The New Technology Elite, I could not find a single industry which is not making its products, services and business models more digital. There is plenty of industrial, marketing, cleantech, healthtech, nanotech and other innovation going at GE, PG, Corning, Daimler and most other corporations. I find it puzzling that media companies based in New York, London, Berlin ad elsewhere get all excited about a Google driverless car or the Apple Watch but ignore innovation happening within driving distances of their offices
c) Hardly any investigative reporting
There is annual Pulitzer prize in the category of investigative journalism. In the last 15 years, even as technology has permeated every aspect of our work and life, just one finalist has explored a technology angle. A few stories stand out like Consumer Reports coverage of iPhone 4 antenna problems, Obamacare site problem coverage, and those on Foxconn’s China workforce issues, but many other technology topics have been lightly touched. Several have asked me jokingly “is there a contract out on you?” for writing SAP Nation. My head scratching response is why have more journalists not jumped all over the $ trillion in IT spend, much wasteful, in that economy? There are so few Brian Krebs who stands out for covering data breach/security stories.
The tech industry deserves a stronger fourth estate. Personally, I think there are plenty of topics and dollars to support it. We need a set of writers and editors who are willing to cover innovation and controversial topics which are just not getting enough focus.
(Cross-posted @ Deal Architect)