What’s the future of Technology journalism?

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Image source: http://www.skyword.com/contentstandard/for-storytellers/walt-mossberg-of-recode-reimagining-tech-journalism/

It is an interesting time for technology journalism as every day new hardware, software, networks or gadgets become ready for consumption and to take a new role in technology world, such as the Google Driverless Car and the Apple Watch.

People expect to get the message beyond the traditional media word, and want to have the updated products’ information, reviews and analysis in ‘plain’ language.

Top 10 tech websites are popular with its different strength on reporting the latest technologies and gadgets, such as techchunch.com (reviews new Internet portals); Wired.com (provides om-depth coverage of the future trends in technology).

However tech journalism faces a number of issues, challenging whether it can survive and how to survive:

• Male dominated/White dominated

As discussed at Ben Abraham’s lecture, the tech industry is not diverse as it’s dominated by white male people.

• Accepting freebies when writing a personal tech column and reporting on early tech products. This compromises the integrity of the reporting. How then to write independent tech news, reviews and analysis sites?

• Finding the right focus, whether to work in the mainstream focused columns tech section or sole tech sites? They are similar but have different focuses towards the target audience.

• Making sure the levels of knowledge and interest among the audience is understood so that tech stories will be understandable.

Another argument is that tech journalism may be as important as any other section, or maybe no technical specialists need to exist at all because technology will be just part of everything and therefore understood by everyone.

Most technology reporting is struggling to find advertising support and a way to make money. Recently Gigaom shut down as the publication was unable to cover their costs.

Being a technology journalist is challenging, not only learning day to day to catch up with the new trend and culture but also translating the tech geek into a readable language for most people.

How can we ensure news on social media is trustworthy?

Social media creates a dynamic environment and motivates people to question, observe, make news and exchange stories.  Everyone becomes active, being creator and consumer, connecting with each other with this invisible social forum to have their own voice.

Often, information on social media meets the news elements such as timing, proximity, and prominence and about human interest, just sourcing the trending topics on Twitters so that you are aware of situations as they happen is an example. Comparing with established publishing news, more inforgraphics or videos used in Facebook, Twitter, Google+ have attracted large audiences.

UntitledHowever how much can we trust such interactive, 24/7 updated news on social media? People want to see the truth. Professional journalists have a responsibility to provide accurate information. When anyone can be a news reporter, how can we verify the source of news, the capability of analysing the flood of information and the good intention of passing on news online? There is no gatekeeper to monitor or check each piece of news before “breaking news” is pushed towards us.

Social media was a double-edged sword during the devastating Sichuan earthquakes in China in 2013, allowing immediate requests for help or provision of  assistance possible, while at the same time spreading rumours and delaying timely aid allocation. The same impact was seen during the  Queensland floods and Tasmania bushfires.

How can we ensure the news can be trusted? I think both journalists and users should take responsibility for generating quality news to inform, educate and entertain the public. To adapt the challenges arising from this dynamic world, journalists should embrace Internet news and how integrity when sourcing and researching and by acting as a gatekeeper. Internet users at least should not pass on known false information and should check the news from different reliable channels.