The Problem With Being the ‘Media Guy’

I have been planning to blog on my experience of being a reporter on the tech-gaming field for a while now. What made me finally do it was this tweet. I have a got a few of those in the past, somehow people think it’s nice to work on something you’re interested in, but that holds true only if you have a final say on the kind of work you do.

For example in my case I work in a newspaper, a really cool one at that, but the problem stems from the fact that most people don’t buy a newspaper to read technology or read about games. Those interested in that kind of thing end up reading about them online. So who reads the stories I do? By my own understanding, it’s mostly

  • Youngsters who are interested in technology, but not online on a regular basis
  • People who are mentioned in the story
  • PR professionals who keep a watch out for not just the brands they work for, but also competing tech
  • People who don’t know much about tech but are curious

Now I feel the fourth group is one of the biggest. No matter where we are, in a tech city like Bangalore or in a small tier 3 city in Kerala, there are always people who are interested to learn but if you bore them once, they might not even think twice about it.

Now the problem is with a set of readers like these you can’t really set your writing style. My preferable writing style would be to write straight forward tech without having to explain every detail regarding the technology in play. But since a newspaper caters a wider audience that a niche website, I have to not just explain the technology, the company culture, the development process but also the minor details of the technology involved in not more than 350 words and at times in 500. So how do you do that?

What information do you include and what do you avoid? If I was writing a blog post on the same topic, I could link to blogs, wikipedia, company website to keep my post short and yet explain the topic. But how do you explain everything involved and keep it to 350?

Answer is you can’t. Of course you can mention one line about everything but then the story wouldn’t make much sense. What can be done and what I do is sacrifice a few elements like details about the company, the founder and the developers involved — cruel — or may be information on how their previous website/software/product is. Sacrifices, yes loads of sacrifices. You can write little, but you need to say a lot with the little. That’s the challenge of being the ‘media guy’.

Another challenege of being the ‘media guy’ is the question of who will you quote and how regularly will you quote that person. Everyone expects their name to turn up next day when the story comes in print, especially when you’re covering an event. It’s not because they’re publicity mongers




This blog post was never completed and published in draft form

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