i’m not a journalist. i don’t even play one on t.v. but i do have an healthy appetite for critiques of how the medium and messages are changing. chris nolan, formerly of the san jose mercury news, has an interesting bit in salon on how the .com craziness is affecting technology ‘journalism’:

“Both local papers, in their own ways, exercise judgments that undermine their credibility. The [San Francisco Chronicle’s] technology coverage harps on the same tired theme of amazement. My God, says the local paper, look at the wizards and their wonders. The Chron should justrun the same daily headline: “More Cool Stuff From Those Young People in Palo Alto.” The [Mercury News] regards the area’s newly wealthy as curiosities from another planet. The Merc’s recurring headline would say, “They’re Rich. They’re Young. What Does It Mean for People Who Are Poor Like Us?””

“One former editor at the Merc once stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison at a banquet, but couldn’t bring himself to say a word to the billionaire. He told me later he didn’t know what to say to Ellison, whom he noted was at the time the wealthiest man in Silicon Valley.

How is it possible for an editor to be so awed by power, money or influence that he could not even shake another man’s hand? Such insecurity in the face of the area’s increasing wealth and sophistication is a sad commentary on the people who should be telling the valley’s stories”

she has some interesting things to say, coming from someone who has certainly taken her lumps for participating in the IPO of a company in the tech sector:

“This is the backdrop to Chris Nolan’s little stock deal. Whatever the specific rights and wrongs of her AutoWeb escapade, it’s a sign of the new prosperity some technology reporters enjoy, and that really
gets under some observers’ skin. Maybe Nolan did everything by the book, maybe she didn’t; either way, she serves as a whipping boy for the tut-tutting of old-line news hounds who resent the changes that the Internet is bringing to their business.”

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