Big Technology

Reporter Roundtable: Discussing Media Narratives and Tech Industry Attacks on the Press

A conversation between leading tech journalists

Alex Kantrowitz
OneZero
Published in
9 min readOct 1, 2020

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Left to right: Brian Merchant, Hannah Murphy, and Eric Newcomer

OneZero is partnering with Big Technology, a newsletter and podcast by Alex Kantrowitz, to bring readers exclusive access to interviews with notable figures in and around the tech industry.

This week, Kantrowitz sits down with three reporters, Bloomberg’s Eric Newcomer, the Financial Times’ Hannah Murphy, and OneZero’s Brian Merchant. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

To subscribe to the podcast and hear the interview for yourself, you can check it out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Overcast.

When the Big Technology Podcast debuted last month, I spoke with The Verge’s Casey Newton about why people can’t stand the tech press. Our wide-ranging discussion explored how tech reporters should be more upfront about their values, how algorithms and social media reframe their work, and why some go astray in the quest for retweets. But there was more to discuss.

This week, three talented reporters — Bloomberg’s Eric Newcomer, the Financial Times’ Hannah Murphy, and OneZero’s Brian Merchant — join the show to pick up where Newton and I left off.

Alex Kantrowitz: Brian, after the show with Casey Newton, you pointed out folks in power that have a true interest in making sure reporters are discredited. You tweeted, “This is an interesting chat … but to me it elides the one very obvious reason that tech execs, VCs + industry boosters hate tech journalists — those parties have a vest interest in making people hate them.”

The pushback on that would be that the tech press isn’t just being appropriately critical but overdoing it. Do you buy that argument?

Brian Merchant: I do not. I think the tech industry got acclimated to the sense that they should be treated a certain way. When the hard questions start…

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Alex Kantrowitz
OneZero

Veteran journalist covering Big Tech and society. Subscribe to my newsletter here: https://bigtechnology.substack.com.