Tag Archives: Technology coverage
by Chris Roush
The New York Times, which named Glenn Kramon as tech editor earlier this year, has now named another new tech editor.
Here is the email sent out by business editor Dean Murphy:
She whoops with excitement and can even become airborne when a Tech story gets fronted. She unapologetically elbows her way to the front of the scrum when we gather to pick stories for the dress page. When a great idea for a story is floated, she rapid fires the reasons the assignment should go to a Tech reporter. And when news breaks, there is no fiercer competitor. In nearly three years as a deputy technology editor, Suzanne Spector has proved that a former criminal defense lawyer (the slick white collar variety of crimes, we should note) can master the world of metadata, boot sequences and enterprise computing and become a digital journalistic force to reckon with.
I am pleased to announce that Suzanne will now take that virtual verve up another notch as technology editor. Suzanne succeeds Glenn Kramon, who Jill, Dean and Janet have decided is needed for an assignment in the newsroom in New York.
Glenn’s short tenure as tech editor has been put to great use helping reporters develop enterprise and think ambitiously about their beats, and he will continue to work with Suzanne and the tech reporters over the next few weeks. Vindu Goel, a former deputy tech editor with deep experience in Silicon Valley, will also help with editing during the transition as Suzanne builds her new team.
Suzanne will begin her job, based in New York, with a running start. Both Glenn and Damon Darlin, until recently the tech editor, describe her as a “take-charge” colleague who has been the driving force behind much of our coverage. “She has more than earned this great job,” Glenn says. “Her enthusiasm for the subject, and the technology staff’s fondness and respect for her, persuade me that she will build on what Damon Darlin, Kevin McKenna and other predecessors have pioneered.”
BizDay knows Suzanne as a late-adopter (albeit fully converted) geek, but she has conquered other subjects since joining The Times after stints teaching legal writing at Hofstra Law School and editing at the National Law Journal and the New York Law Journal. She has been a backfielder and Web editor for National, deputy education editor (as well as acting education editor for the better part of a year), and an editor for the regional weeklies.
“She’s already been running the show for the past two years,” Damon says.
by Chris Roush
Wired co-founders Jane Metcalfe and Louis Rossetto were interviewed as the technology magazine approaches its 20th anniversary.
While featured in Adweek, it’s actually an original oral history running in Wired’s May 20 anniversary issue from the people who played an instrumental role in launching the magazine’s first issue in 1993.
Here is an excerpt:
At this point, money was running low and Wired was in dire need of capital. Among the many contacts Rossetto and Metcalfe called upon was Nicholas Negroponte. Highly regarded and well connected among the tech elite, Negroponte had founded MIT Media Lab, a fountainhead of new ideas about the networked culture Wired would cover—and he was an extraordinarily successful fundraiser. His assistant told them he was scheduled to attend Richard Saul Wurman’s TED Conference in Monterey, Calif., in February 1992. Unable to afford tickets, Rossetto and Metcalfe traded their help at the event for admission.
Metcalfe: We met with Nicholas at 7:30. He said, “Looking at a business plan this early is like doing a shot of bourbon for breakfast.”
Rossetto: He methodically and silently went page by page through the prototype in that empty, darkened auditorium. When he was finished, he closed the book, looked at the two of us, and asked, “How much money are you looking for?”
Metcalfe: Oh my god! He’s going to help us! It was the most extraordinary thing that had happened to date.
Nicholas Negroponte (senior columnist): My decision to invest in Wired was a moment of bravado. The rest is history.
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Eric Engleman, a Bloomberg News journalist, has been hired by Politico to be its deputy technology editor.
He will work with technology editor Eric Nelson.
Engleman has been a technology reporter at Bloomberg News in Washington, covering Internet policy including cybersecurity, online privacy and piracy issues.
Before joining Bloomberg in January 2011, he worked as a reporter for American City Business Journals in Seattle covering Amazon.com and other technology companies. Prior to that he was a reporter for The Associated Press in Moscow, Russia, where he covered Russian politics and business and the conflict in Chechnya.
Eric has won two reporting awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.
He is a graduate of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine.
by Chris Roush
Curt Woodward of Xconomy writers a piece for 90.9 WBUR, a National Public Radio station in Boston, that takes issue with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick stating “The media here is awful to the business community” in a speech to the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council.
Woodward writes, “But here’s the real reason Patrick’s dig at the press was so galling: It’s demonstrably false.
“Look at the business media in this state and try to tell me, with a straight face, that the narrative being presented is solely one of doom, gloom and failure. You can’t.
“Let’s just take a tour through the recent business headlines in the local press to illustrate this. This past Sunday, there was a big Globe feature by Kirsner himself on Entrega, a local biotech company that is developing a way for patients to take powerful drugs in a pill, rather than the injections currently used.
“The Globe also featured no fewer than four separate stories through the last week of March on U.S. and European regulators approving a new multiple sclerosis drug from Biogen Idec, a step that the paper saw as ‘cementing the Weston company’s dominance in MS treatments.’
“The Herald covered the rise of 3D printing, putting some Massachusetts startup companies on the map alongside other players nationwide in this burgeoning tech trend.
“Both papers, along with online-only news outlets like my employer, Xconomy, also carried lengthy pieces about a new offering from Nuance Communications that could see the Burlington, Mass.-based company leading the way in voice recognition-equipped advertising — the kind of stuff you might see in a sci-fi movie.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Longtime technology journalist Owen Thomas has been named editor of tech news site ReadWrite.
Here is an excerpt from ReadWrite’s post:
When did you first hear about ReadWrite?
In 2003, I first heard about a guy named Richard MacManus who started a site called ReadWriteWeb. This idea of two-way conversations was in the very first spec for the Web, but it’s ultimately larger than the Web itself. When you think about what ReadWrite was trying to do, it was all about building. You can read and consume content online, but you can also write to publish your own views. The third thing that was implicit there was execute, as in “execute code.” That’s all about action, and for me that’s the next big thing in ReadWrite’s mission.
Where are you from?
I’m from Northern Virginia. I come from a family of programmers. My mother was a programmer at IBM. My dad was a computer hobbyist. My brother was a serious programmer – he won a supercomputer for our high school the summer after he graduated. He also ran a bulletin-board service – a kind of precursor to Internet chat forums. For so many of us who grew up in this networked culture, it was so apparent to us how much better it could be – in a heartfelt way.
Where did you work before coming to ReadWrite?
I’ve worked at Business Insider, Suck.com, the Red Herring, Time Inc., Valleywag, VentureBeat and numerous other publications. I got my start as an intern at Mother Jones – I just met one of the current editors and regaled her with tales of what it was like to put one of the world’s very first magazines on the Web.
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Evgeny Morozov argues on Slate.com that technology journalism needs to be more than just gadget reviews and business plans.
Morozov writes, “As I’ve already noted, I hate trend-spotting stenographers and babbling pundits. In their place, I want to install critics and intellectuals. My ‘disruption’ of the current discourse—to use Silicon Valley’s favorite buzzword (‘disruption,’ not ‘discourse’!)—is quite deliberate and strategic. The difference between these two groups is that, in addition to reporting and analysis, critics and intellectuals have additional moral obligations. They don’t just regurgitate whatever Silicon Valley press release strikes their fancy, but they actually try to ask a different question: Is this startup good? Is it bad? The only question that our stenographers and pundits ask right now—as confirmed by your responses—is whether this startup is likely to take off.
“My problem with your approach, Farhad, is that, if I were to ask you a simple question—’How should a smart trash bin be designed?’—I’m afraid that your answer would be: ‘Just as the market wants it.’ But I see technology criticism as a far more ambitious exercise, one that is so much more than just market ventriloquism. So the reason why I go after so many reporters, writers, and thinkers in the book is precisely because I want to force that extra moral dimension on them.
“Judging by your refusal to engage with this project—in both of your postings—I suspect you don’t find this prospect terribly appealing. And I can see why. But read carefully, my book has arguments that are only peripherally related to technology companies in Silicon Valley. I also discuss how those of us influencing public debate should think about and report on those companies.”
Read more here.
by Liz Hester
Covering new technology and the companies behind them is one of the better parts of being a business reporter. Who doesn’t want to go to the conferences where Apple, Samsung, or Nokia show us the latest gadget that we simply can’t do without and will make our lives so much better?
One of the better earnings stories is that of Blackberry maker Research in Motion. It has been struggling to make a profit as customers and business clients turned to smart phones from other makers, upending its long-time hold on the market.
Here’s Thursday’s story from the Wall Street Journal, which chose to focus on some of the board changes toward the top:
Research In Motion Ltd. reported a surprise profit Thursday and a comfortable cash pile for its fiscal fourth quarter, bolstered by the first sales of its new BlackBerry Z10 device.
Underscoring still-formidable challenges, RIM also said it lost about three million subscribers in the period. And Chief Executive Thorsten Heins said he expected to see service fees decline as RIM works through a transition with carriers over those payments.
RIM also said one of its founder and its former, long-time co-chief executive, Mike Lazaridis, would step down from the board. That ends Mr. Lazaridis’ formal ties to RIM, which go back about 30 years to when he started the company with a loan from his parents. Mr. Lazaridis said, however, he had no plans to sell down his sizeable RIM holdings, which amounts to about 5.7% of the company’s shares.
The results were encouraging for many investors, who bid up shares. In late morning trading in New York, RIM was up 46 cents, or 3.2%, to $15.03. The quarterly profit, RIM’s second, consecutive profitable period, comes a little over a year after Mr. Heins took the reins from Mr. Lazaridis and Co-Chief Executive Jim Balsillie.
The New York Times took a more traditional earnings story approach, putting the company’s full year losses in the second paragraph:
The annual loss, which tax benefits reduced from an operating loss of $1.2 billion, compared with $1.16 billion in net earnings a year earlier.
In the latest quarter, which ended March 2, the company lost $18 million from operations. But recovery of income taxes transformed that into a $98 million profit for the quarter, or 19 cents a share.
BlackBerry has struggled with declining sales. Revenue in the latest quarter was $2.6 billion, compared with $2.7 billion in the same period a year ago. Annual revenue fell to $11 billion, from $18.4 billion a year earlier.
For about one month of the quarter, the first of its new phones, the BlackBerry Z10, was on sale in Canada, Britain and some other markets, but not the United States. BlackBerry said that it shipped about a million of the handsets during that time.
It nevertheless reported that there were 76 million BlackBerry subscribers worldwide at the end of the period, a loss of about three million users. Until the third quarter of the fiscal year, BlackBerry, formerly known as Research in Motion, had consistently increased the number of subscribers.
While the decline in subscribers is troubling, investors seemed to focus more on the company’s return to the black. But the Associated Press pointed out that one good quarter didn’t meant the company was back where it should be:
It will take several quarters, though, to know whether RIM is on a path toward a successful turnaround. RIM just entered the crucial U.S. market with the new phone last week. And despite selling a million BlackBerry 10 phones in other countries, RIM lost subscribers for the second consecutive quarter.
Thursday’s earnings report provided a first glimpse of how the BlackBerry 10 system, widely seen as crucial to the company’s future, is selling internationally and in Canada since its debut Jan. 31. The 1 million new touch-screen BlackBerry Z10 phones were above the 915,000 that analysts had been expecting for the quarter that ended March 2. Details on U.S. sales are not part of the fiscal fourth quarter’s financial results because the Z10 wasn’t available there after the quarter ended.
Investors appeared happy with the financial results. RIM’s stock rose 34 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $14.91 in afternoon trading Thursday after the release of results. Many analysts had written RIM off last year, but now believe the Canadian company has a future.
“I thought they were dead. This is a huge turnaround,” Jefferies analyst Peter Misek said from New York.
Misek said the Canadian company “demolished” the numbers, especially its gross margins. RIM reported gross margins of 40 percent, up from 34 percent a year earlier. The company credited higher average selling prices and higher margins for devices.
“This is a really, really good result,” Misek said. “It’s off to a good start.”
While coverage was mostly favorable, I appreciated the fact that reporters injected some skepticism up high in all the stories to question the results and the company’s ability to repeat it going forward. Obviously we’ll have to wait and see, but the coverage of Thursday’s earnings remains a good example to those just joining the tech beat.
by Chris Roush
Xconomy.com, a website that covers technology and innovation in major cities around the country, has opened a bureau in Denver to cover the Colorado market.
Founder Robert Buderi writes, “I am also extremely pleased to introduce the editor of Xconomy Boulder/Denver, Michael Davidson. Mike is already well known to the region’s innovation community: he comes to us from the Boulder County Business Report, where he has carved out a name for himself as a leading voice covering innovation and technology. We think he is a rising star and we are extremely happy to have him head up our coverage from Day One. He will have help from some local freelancers and, of course, other editors around the Xconomy network.
“You will find Mike’s own welcome story immediately following this — as well as his first news analysis post — about how the rapidly growing Denver startup scene is seizing on the template created in Boulder to create a startup- and collaboration-rich enviornment.
“A lot about Xconomy Boulder/Denver is unique. For one thing, it is the first of our cluster sites not in the Eastern or Pacific time zone. Innovation, after all, doesn’t happen only on the coasts. Therefore, we think it is important to build a network that reflects the pervasiveness of the innovation and entrepreneurial movement sweeping the country. (Stay tuned in the next few weeks for another announcement along these lines.) By including new regions like Boulder/Denver in that network — and by being on the ground with thoughtful, in-depth daily reporting on startups, venture capital, and innovation at larger companies in tech, life sciences, energy, and more — we seek to bring what is happening in those communities into a broader national conversation. That, we think, is especially important, because all too often national press tend to focus on what is happening on the coasts, especially in Silicon Valley—thereby missing great work being done in other parts of the country.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
Casey Newton, a senior reporter with the tech news site CNET, has resigned to join The Verge, another tech news site.
An item on the Vox Media blog states, “Casey Newton joins The Verge as a senior reporter. He was previously a senior writer at CNET, where he recently broke the news that Twitter is working on a standalone music app. Before CNET, Newton wrote about technology for the San Francisco Chronicle. He is the tallest reporter covering Silicon Valley and can be found on Twitter @CaseyNewton.
“Here’s Newton on his move to The Verge:
Since the day it launched, less than 18 months ago, The Verge has been open in my Web browser more or less constantly. First I marveled at its bold, beautiful design; then I noted the speed and frequency with which it breaks news; then I dug into its world-class features. Whether writing about Aaron Swartz or animated GIFs, Google Glass or Samsung’s sexism, The Verge somehow always delivers the take I want to read — one that is timely, thoughtful, and delivered with style.”
Read more here.
by Chris Roush
At least nine business journalists made the list of Time magazine’s 140 best Twitter feeds to follow.
They included CNBC.com’s John Carney. Time wrote, “Editor of CNBC.com’s NetNet blog, Carney concerns himself first and foremost with the high drama of Wall Street, but tweets on all business-related news as well – often with his tongue firmly in cheek.”
For Business Insider’s Joe Weisenthal, Time wrote, “The hardest-working man in financial news is tweeting out the latest consumer confidence data before you’ve had your morning cup of coffee, and movements in overseas markets long after you’ve gone to bed. Amazingly, he still has time to mount a defense of the trillion-dollar platinum coin somewhere in between.”
The Wall Street Journal’s Kelli Grant is on the list. Time wrote, “This Wall Street Journal consumer reporter offers a smart take on the best ways to spend and save. Grant balances links to her articles with personal anecdotes about her cats and upcoming wedding.”
For New York magazine’s Kevin Roose, Time wrote, “New York Magazine’s Kevin Roose breaks down business and technology news for people who don’t follow those topics closely. On Twitter, he adds a level of snark by calling out companies, consumers and everyone in between.”
For All Thing’s D’s Kara Swisher, Time wrote, “Founder and co-executive editor of AllThingsD.com, as well as a Wall Street Journal columnist, Swisher offers smart tweets on technology and startups.”
ABC News technology editor Joanna Stern is also listed. Time wrote, “The technology editor at ABC News, Stern chronicles all things gadgets with dedication and humor. Her feed is full of pop culture confessions, social media banter and misadventures with Vine.”
For The Verge’s Josh Topolsky, Time wrote, “Topolsky is the editor and co-founder of The Verge, a site that covers the intersection of technology and arts. His Twitter feed does the same with dispatches from TED, an early hands-on look at Google Glass and live tweets on the Oscars and Super Bowl.”
For ZDNet’s Ed Bott, Time wrote, “An award-winning author and journalist, Bott has owned the Microsoft, Windows and Office beat for much of his career. On Twitter, he doesn’t just bring experience, he’s got plenty of snark, too.”
Chicago Sun-Times tech columnist Andy Ihnatko is also on the list. Time wrote, “A tech columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, Ihnatko’s twitter feed keeps tabs on mobile gadgets, future innovations and pop culture for his 70,000 followers.”