The way tech news should be done

Big chunk of sites and blogs in tech niche primarily aims at pumping news. Most of them completely suck at it.

What makes good news source? Publisher of such understands:

  • what good news are;
  • how to deliver them;
  • when to shut up.

So what exactly are good news that are worth our time?

cat_news

Photo by fotogail

Newsworthiness

There are few generic types of tech news.

Something has happened (e.g. announcement of new product).

While this is supposed to be most newsworthy, problem is a lot of tech news in this category are false. Products are announced months (years) before estimated release. Some too-good-to-be-true products are actually announced without an intention to release. Chasing newest and most original in tech niche creates stream of news as valuable as soap bubbles. Looks cool though.

Something has changed (e.g. software or hardware update).

News of changes are least exciting but most important. These deal with existing products and relay valuable information how your experience may soon change for better (security improvements) or for worse (product discontinued). News-centric publishers only look at these when they don’t have anything loud to scream. Luckily nature of such news allows to easily get them in nice concentration from non-news-centric sites, such as software portals.

Fun crap (e.g. Google changed favicon).

I won’t even say anything here. Any site that thinks readers are very interested in what favicon Google has should be just erased. Some sites specialize in this sort of new and it is fine. But a lot of publishers just post such crap mindlessly.

Analytics

The bigger impact news item carries the harder it is to predict and explain. Sites that report anything and everything usually lack specific experience and resources to surround splash with information about waves.

Same news delivered by two sites of different scope and specialization would be completely different. Sites that rely on social submission are especially good at twisting news beyond recognition.

Echo chamber

Repeating news turns them into noise very fast. Being first takes a lot of effort and resources most publishers (especially small-scale bloggers) won’t ever have.

Repeating what others had said is no problem at all if you add value in your own way. Repeating what other said hundred times already on the same day is good way to embarrass your resource.

On this blog

From the beginning this blog had bit of anti-news and anti-hype policy. Now I notice that blog does actually fall in news realm at times:

  • I am maintaining my software updates feed which is kind of boring but useful news (it has around one tenth of main feed number of subscribers);
  • I am covering some minor news when I get it fresh and firsthand, such as Skribit changes.

How do you like your tech news? Are volume and speed only things that matter or you prefer narrow and specialized news streams?

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6 Comments

  • While I enjoy the “tech blogs” that just seem to post new product releases, I tend to just skim their posts. I look at a nice picture, and move on to the next one until something captures my attention. Sure that authors themselves may be great writers or the product may be great, but 9 times out of 10, I really don’t care about the next smallest laptop, or the newest USB flash drive that humps your ports.

    I enjoy more detailed posts. Instead of looking at 15 new cameras, I’d prefer to look at the one post that takes that camera and hacks it into a webcam. To me, things that add new value to existing products are a huge bonus.

    I also rather enjoy software-based product reviews. I’m always on the hunt for new more efficient ways to accomplish things, and most times the software that two people will use to accomplish the same goal will be vastly different. I enjoy learning about different products and finding my own uses for them.

    That being said, when something is big enough (new Android phone, new Blackberry, new browser etc) I enjoy reading about them. I try and see if the new app can somehow fit into my life, and if it can’t, then I move on to the next one.

    All in all, I prefer quality over quantity. I know numerous techblogs that post the exact same content as 15 other blogs a few minutes apart, using almost the same sources. If someone already posted it, chances are, we’ve read it already unless you’re a huge blog. I would prefer the one blog post about a cool new code-based hack than 15 about the latest benchmarks of Safari Beta.

  • Great analysis Rarst :) Fun crap is the most seeing on blogs.

  • @Angelo

    Reading my mind. Hardware or software news either – the aren’t much value until something meaningful is added to sheer fact of [supposed] release.

    “Big” releases are bit more interesting. But since it often takes months to USA release, and months after that to get to where I live… Reading about something you might only buy in a year is not too exciting for me.

    btw your train of thought is like role model for my perfect reader! Thanks for sticking around and constant extensive comments. :) Feel free to kick me if my blog ever strays from meaningful and useful (too far).

    @Lax

    I’d not really call it analysis. Maybe rant? Analysis is powered by desire to understand things. This kind of post is powered by desire to share my thoughts on some crap and see what people around think about that. :)

  • Seems that 90% of tech news is about: a.) iPhone, b.) Twitter, or
    c.) The Mac.

    These things are all well and good -IN PERSPECTIVE- but the whole
    of technology they are not !

    Besides a definite Apple-bias in the mainstream tech media, I’m sick
    of all the Vista-haters. Seems like most of the writers doing articles
    on Windows PC sites are Macintosh devotees. Go figure.

    Then there’s the ten-thousandth story on installing Windows 7:
    Should I ? Would I ? Could I ?

    As well as all the fear-mongering. ( Remember the articles on an
    almost 24-hour install time for Win 7 ? After pumping up that story
    for several days, for the next few days they debunked it ! )

    I don’t need to hear anything further in the news about iPhones,
    Snow Leopard, or Windows 7 for the next six months. Twitter maybe
    for a year.

    The DataRat

    .

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