The Technology Delusion: Why the future isn't just about the toys.

It is very easy to think you are prepared for the future when you have very posh trinkets in your line of work.


A digital recorder with wi-fi is a nice toy. Technology is impressive, from editing software, to cameras to how precise audience tracking has become. My website's analytics is over and above what I had a decade ago, and is superior to the one I had just a month ago with another host.

When I ran Chaser News over ten years ago, I had a very smart camera that could take photos and make movies with a switch of a button -- and that was a big deal. My laptop and camera were my entire studio. Now, that's all done on my smartphone with a special camera attachment.

When your have the toys, you get lulled into thinking that you are cutting edge, and in journalism, it is an easy mistake to make. 

Toys are tumbleweeds: they have no roots as they are outdated within a year. When I started in journalism, I had to buy a pricey and professional quality microphone and tape recorder. Then I had a PDA with a folding keyboard. Now, all of that is utterly unusable, just as is my old multi-purpose camera that had its own editing software. I needed no apps doing Chaser because those things didn't exist, but used several when I began A Dangerous Woman Story Studio.

The toys change and quickly. I have no trouble keeping up, but I also can see that the technology doesn't make journalism.

Journalism needed to be something that would be ahead of technology, not the other way around. Journalists are always playing catch-up, and often behave as if they were technological squatters: moving in to a new medium and then trying to fit into it.

It also needed to update their methods -- independent of the trinkets that are always changing. That never happened, but it doesn't mean an alternative can't do what its predecessor never did...