Kevin Roose of New York Magazine writes that PandoDaily, TechCrunch and other startup blogs should be considered “trade publications,” which would essentially nullify all complaints of bias, conflicts-of-interest, and overall half-assery.
The idea has been thrown about before, only the previous author — Dan Mitchell of SF Weekly — was using “trade publication” as a derogatory term.
Roose is astonishingly accomplished for a guy who just graduated Brown in ’09, and usually I’m a huge fan, but in this case, he misses the point. I don’t scorn Pando and TC because of their journalism practices; I thought Barry Diller hit the mark when he noted that Michael Arrington was valuable at TC because of his uniquely acerbic commentary, traditional journalism be damned.
No, the reason I think these blogs are a joke is because the writers are just…kind of…impotent. They have no balls, no contrarian viewpoints, and no imagination. Their entire conception of a “tech blog” was formed by pre-2010 TechCrunch, and since Arrington’s made off with his $25 million purse he’s left a bunch of hapless cheerleaders who just assume that the things they write about are cool and valuable by virtue of being ‘tech.’
‘Tech’ isn’t the be all, end all! It’s a paradigm, just like print media…brick-and-mortar…
Oh, but those things are supposed to be disrupted, right?
Paradigms are alternate realities created by geniuses, like Steve Jobs; the roads are laid by really creative thinkers, like Michael Arrington; then the rest of us come and putter along the roads, try to drive really fast within the assigned lanes, maybe bump a few cars here and there and say we’re “disruptive”…
So I don’t fault TechCrunch and Sarah Lacy for their lack of investigative reporting; I don’t fault them for their lack of insight; what I and everyone else just want is some entertainment. Something different! Veer off the road! ‘Cuz TechCrunch publishes about 50 articles a day, and only about 15 companies get big a year; that’s a ton of wasted space talking about “innovation culture” and “fundings.”
Michael Arrington once wrote a post titled “Screw the Rich (Here’s How).” Today, TechCrunch spewed off some articles about Google earnings reports, two content marketing platforms which raised money, and a few promotions for the ‘TechCrunch Disrupt SF’ event. You see the differences here? I’m not asking for journalism…I’m just asking for blogs to take their jobs as curators (and writers) seriously.