Tech sites covering the Boston bombing
The Boston Marathon news is certainly a tragic thing, but to read about it on The Verge felt shockingly out of place. I wasn’t alone. MG Siegler on the coverage of the Boston bombings on tech sites:
Rather than directly send their readers to other places doing actual reporting, these sites all wrote at least one post (and in the case of Mashable, something like a dozen shameful posts) simply embedding, copying and pasting, or rejurgitating others’ information. And guess what they all got as a result? Pageview gold.
It seems the editor-in-chief disagrees, but then, of course he would. Still, his argument seems obtusely wrong:
We have never thought of ourselves as a “tech” site (and certainly not a “blog”).
Ohhhhh rrrealllyyyy? Not a tech site, you say? Strange, how when I hit the home page, the “sections” show me “web”, “gaming”, “apps”, “Apple”, “Android”, “mobile, and the like. What’s their About page say?
The Verge was founded in 2011 in partnership with Vox Media, and covers the intersection of technology, science, art, and culture.
Not tech? Alright, I get ya. Clearly, The Verge is about technology culture. Being a person who likes technology, and all that. But, you say the intersection. I used the think that meant “when a story touches on all of these subjects”, but now I’m less certain.
Instead, his argument continues:
We think of ourselves as a news site which covers the culture of now (for lack of a better term), the world at this moment, as it is — what matters to people who live and work in 2013.
So all the people who live in 2013 are interesting in the Asus Taichi tablet? Or that a Twitter exec didn’t say no to a ‘Twitter Home’? Or Facebook hiring a Maps manager?
My wife lives in the same century as I do (I have to assume), and she doesn’t care about any of these things. I care about them though. I also care about how Barcelona is doing in the Champions League, and how much I have to pay in taxes, but I wouldn’t expect to find anything about those on The Verge.
I do see that how I (and much of the world) would be interested in the Boston bombing. We’re also probably interested in what’s currently happening in Egypt, and how the North Korea situation is proceeding. But I don’t see anything about those on the Verge, except where they point out when insane world leaders take to Twitter. Interesting.
The Verge home page also had a huge box the same day of this timely article: “Staying safe: how can we find and defend against explosives?" Say what? I came to read about tech. Sorry, not tech, but things interesting to a technologist. This is just a second article taking advantage of our human fear of blowing up.
In the following days, they have indeed had several articles about the tech related to the Boston situation, and that seems fine. Still, when it’s not your field, simply link to the people who do report in that field. The same way we wish the LA Times would just point at a tech site instead of blabbering about something they don’t understand.