Five Tips for Covering TechnologyJune 2, 2015
Technology and money reporters have the tedious job of staying up-to-date on trends and keeping on top of what’s to come. Technology business writers serve a vital role as a link between the tech geniuses and the average consumer, and doing so can be tough. Here are our top five tips for reporting on technology:
1. Language is key. Explain clearly without oversimplifying.
Technology jargon can be intimidating. As a reporter, you’ll need to take complex ideas and systems and explain them to readers with a vast range of knowledge. Your best bet is to keep language simple without oversimplifying. Give readers the benefit of the doubt with ideas like the Internet, but with complex ideas it’s always best to be as specific as possible. Writing too simply can often introduce errors in your story, so always verify your facts.
2. Don’t let the PR person mislead you.
A reporter should never use a PR representative as a primary source but those who work in technology will be especially eager to push their product. Their tendency to spin information and push their product could get you in trouble. Try reaching out to competitive reps as well who can give you the criticism you won’t get from the product’s own company.
3. Don’t try to predict the future.
Though one of your many jobs as a tech reporter is to provide insight into upcoming products and developing ideas, you can’t predict the future and should by no means try to. Use scientific sources like engineers or futurists to help shape scenarios and possibilities instead.
4. Avoid making false claims.
Avoid calling anything is a breakthrough or the first of its kind. Technology develops at a rapid pace and draws all kinds of inspiration. Falsely giving credit could cause legal troubles and earn you a bad reputation in the field.
5. Go global.
Don’t be afraid to report on international technologies. The U.S. is not the only player and, oftentimes, new ideas come to us from around the world. Expand your source list and talk to tech leaders from as many places as possible.
Want more? Download our “Guide to Business Beat Basics” for tips on covering money in technology and other beats.