Ziff-Davis is a lumbering dinosaur of days past while the faster, much more agile journalists and web sites that are smaller, but able to respond much more quickly to changing needs have been nibbling like raptors on the heels of this brontosaurus (and others of its ilk) for a long time.
True up to a point. ExtremTech was
a much better website a few years ago than it's been these last two. But I hadn't noticed very many errors in the actual columns. Most of what I saw that was wrong was contributed by readers, or in an occasional 'guest' article. Unfortunately, ExtremeTech didn't do as much as it probably should have to distinguish between the two. Especially in its RSS feed where everything seemed to be lumped together.
As far as the puff pieces are concerned, I think that's a lot more due to the nature of the industry, than any laziness on the part of ET. Much of the computer and information news world has been floating on little more than puff and rumors (and a whole lotta patent litigation!) ever since the dot.com bubble burst at the end of the 90s. Seems we're in an era of refinement and progressive (albeit lesser) innovation, rather than a time of major breakthroughs. Which should come as no surprise, because let's face it folks, the creation of the Web is going to be an extremely tough act to follow.
Small change makes for small news - and sometimes no news at all. But that won't stop the crows from proclaiming that each little blip on the radar is soon to become The Next Big Thing that will change the world forever...yadda-yadda-yadda.
This results in the unfortunate tendency on the part of the 'new press' to indulge in hyperbole as it responds to the changing needs of its readers by: "nibbling like raptors on the heels of this brontosaurus (and others of its ilk)..."
So why this change in tech reporting and commentary?
I think it's because a very significant percentage of the current readership grew up with the rise of the Internet. And this new self-proclaimed 'elite' has come to believe that the most rapid and far reaching burst of technical innovation in human history is more the rule, rather than the exception, to how technological advancement usually takes place.
Thus, a new journalism is born.
Much like the old brontosauruses
they criticize, these sleek new raptors
try to please their readers who want fast, new, and ultra-cool things to talk about. Nothing wrong with that. It's called marketing
, although I'd guess there are those out there who would prefer to call it something like pimping
, in order to give it that edgy new-journalist sound.
Unfortunately, a lot of these more 'agile' journalists don't always bother to vet their information before they commit to their blog. There is a definite trend towards pursuing the latest 'scoop' rather than getting the facts straight.
The new "current wisdom" for technical reportage seems to be: Get something (anything) out before anybody else does - and issue a 'clarification' if it turns out that what you reported was wrong.
And when there's little to report, there's always the old standby of slagging somebody - or something. A bit of adroit name-calling will always serve to generate enough faux-controversy
until something better comes up.
And why not toss out any pretense of civility while you're at it? Especially if you're writing in a venue where a vulgar cheap shot will earn you reader points for being clever.
Besides, XYZ sucks- an epic POS!!! WTF?
reads ever so much better thanXYZ doesn't work as advertised.
don't you think?
I dunno...for all their faults and problems, I still think we're losing something as each of the old publishers quits the stage. Time will tell.