As far as conflict-free journalism goes, Pogue has been remarkably agnostic during his 13-year career at the Times. In 2009, he declared, “I am not a reporter!” after bloggers revealed that his glowing reviews of the Apple Snow Leopard iOS coincided with a book he was releasing about the operating system.
This comment took the starch out of quite a few mustaches at the Times, especially among those hustling beat reporters who can’t pull a tenth of Pogue’s web traffic, salary or name recognition. Regardless, Pogue’s final leap from ‘journalist’ to ‘content-creator’ comes at a perfect moment of rejuvenated interest in writers as personal brands. Particularly with eBay chairman Pierre Omidyar’s backing of Glenn Greenwald‘s new media startup, young writers are being shown a path to relevance: build your own audience, especially across multiple mediums.
Pogue regularly creates videos and even musical numbers to supplement his writing, and as Gawker points out, he had no qualms about giving the keynote address at a Columbia Journalism Review conference titled “Opportunities and Danger for Journalism.”
Oh yeah, and he also runs a Tumblr, where he posted a note this morning about his new job. Surprise, surprise, he won’t be giving up his other gigs — “I’ll still keep up my NOVA specials on PBS, my ‘CBS Sunday Morning’ stories, my Missing Manual books, and my Scientific American column.”
When asked by Newsweek about Nate Silver’s defection to ESPN, Times executive editor Jill Abramson sniffed that, “The New York Times is always the prettiest girl at the party.” As a regular reader, I’d have to agree — when I compare the Times to other newspapers, she’s pretty darn sexy for a Grey Lady. But when every blogger is their own brand, and every commerce company becomes a media outlet, the party gets a whole lot bigger.