If you read tech protection a lot, you might be forgiven for believing it’s a little toothless. From radiant profiles of tech CEOs to out of breath coverage of new technology that may yet turn out to be trash, tech reporters can typically forget to take an action back and look critically at the claims made by the business they cover.
One DC think tank disagrees with that evaluation. Yesterday, the Infotech and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) launched a report arguing that, in truth, tech reporting is too “downhearted” about tech, and highlights interest in technology for clicks. The report claims to chart a significantly unfavorable tone over the last 30 years in tech journalism, with more articles highlighting “possible ill results of innovation:”
The findings show that protection of innovation in the 1980s and early 1990s was largely favorable, with a heavy concentrate on the financial and military benefits paid for by advancing innovations. In the late 1980s, in specific, there was a noteworthy concentrate on the financial opportunities afforded by the developing technology sector and its offerings. Nevertheless, that tone has gradually shifted throughout the years, with more short articles highlighting the potential ill impacts of innovation: its displacement of face-to-face interaction, its role in environmental degradation, its risk to employment, and its failure to live up to a few of the promises made on its behalf.
ITIF held a panel conversation yesterday to herald the release of this report. Like so numerous policy wankfests in DC, the occasion was kept in a grey conference room on K Street; that, thus many spaces in DC, was filled with a couple of lots old white men in suits. The panel was really heavy on reporters: Amy Schatz, a previous Wall Street Journal reporter now working for US Telecom, Politico technology press reporter Ashley Gold, and the director of the Knight Science Journalism program Deborah Blum joined a senior Bench scientist and an agent of tech, Morgan Reed. Reed is the executive director of the App Association, which represents app and infotech business and is sponsored by companies including Apple and eBay.
Reed, unsurprisingly, shared some of the report’s issues about tech protection. He said that while apprehension in journalism is good, “everybody” must wish to press back on “Luddites” in protection of tech. He took special problem with “civil society” companies, saying some have “fundraising reasons” for being critical of technology. When I asked him what issues he felt advocacy groups and the press were being Luddites about, he mentioned personal privacy. He differed with those who are “anti-advertising,” stating “in the privacy space” there are those who see marketing as “a net negative on society, and for that reason refuse to acknowledge the positives that originate from it and see everything as an increased personal privacy threat.”
IT support Dublin might have a different idea though