At New York, Kevin Roose writes about recent troubles at Pando Daily and pivots into a discussion on what the role of tech blogs should be in the journalism ecosystem:
There has long been a war between those who write for and read tech blogs (by “tech blogs,” I’m referring to a group of publications epitomized by, but not limited to, TechCrunch and PandoDaily) and those who think these blogs are fundamentally compromised and do a terrible job of covering the tech industry in a neutral, objective way. This latter group tends to be composed of people who wish tech blogs contained more criticism — more takedowns of charlatans and frauds, more reports of industry gossip and George Packer–style think-pieces about Silicon Valley’s more pernicious influences. They want Silicon Valley to be covered as if it were Wall Street, or Capitol Hill. And they look at tech blogs, see the funding announcements and uncritical stories that dominate, and conclude that they’re terrible, conflict-ridden, sycophantic echo chambers.
He argues the right frame is to think of them as trade publications, not as mainstream media:
There’s no shame in being a trade publication. Positive, insider-y tech coverage shouldn’t be the whole of tech journalism, but it can be part of it, especially now that more outlets are giving Silicon Valley the oppositional treatment it deserves. And if tech blogs like TechCrunch and Pando want to harness their strengths, they should embrace their insider status, focus on out-scooping each other on industry news, and leave the takedowns to others. They might miss some juicy stories, but it’s better than coltishly trying to both please their readers and satisfy the bloodlust of Silicon Valley’s critics.
— Joshua Benton