Plugging the gaps in tech media

By Elliott Richardson in Media News on
As Seamus Byrne wrote last month, the tech sections in mainstream media have been shrinking. The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age no longer feature tech on the home pages of their websites.
 
Most mainstream publications cover the headline stories when technology often needs expertise and in-depth understanding.
 
While those headline stories are still important, there is little specialty coverage of stories outside the mainstream.
 
However, the tech industry does have a depth of specialty coverage in independent media, with former mainstream journalists setting up their own projects, or those who have worked in the tech industry deciding to venture into journalism.
 
With independence comes an ability to specialise in a tech niche, and that’s something to be embraced says veteran journalist Alex Kidman.
 
Back when I started, web publishing was absolutely nascent. I came on board at APC to run its web site at a point in time when a magazine having a website was a genuinely unusual idea!
 
“The advent of web publishing opened up a lot of opportunities in the independent space, but the size of budgets and the Australian media landscape meant that the ones that have tended to last the distance are those that have filled rather specific niches in a quality way rather than specifically just replicate what mainstream media might do around a topic.”
 
Trevor Long started his career in mainstream media on 2GB radio before heading up EFTM and says while he’s never been busier as a tech commentator, it’s a shame the mainstream publications seem to only be hunting for clicks.
 
I don't think mainstream are reducing tech coverage, I'm doing as much or more TV and Radio as I ever have in my career.  Online though, the bigger publications now seem less likely to cover tech news and products, and more eager to hunt for headlines and clicks - I guess that's the nature of their KPIs or metrics, but that's a real shame,” Long says.
 
As independent outlets have continued to pop up, Long says those publications do need more support if they are to eventually break through at a larger level.
 
“Independent media provides additional voices, we need as many voices as possible, so there is a risk that the noise at a niche and small scale level is loud but not breaking through, we need more support for the independent sector from the very companies that benefit from it - that's where this whole industry has a real problem.
 
Kidman agrees, saying while there are a number of big, local players, it can still be tough going for independent content creators.
 
“It's not just a question of words on paper (or indeed screens); while I freelance for many major publications, I also do a lot of independent media work across podcasts, video and radio, and there are some very big and locally grown players in that space, and room for more. It's encouraging to see new players in this space as well, although it is tough going for Australian media competing in the entirely global marketplace.”
 
Adding to this is the shift in revenue models as Google has dominated the ad market, leaving publishers to look for affiliate deals and direct sponsorships which can cause issues around disclosure says Kidman.
 
“The other aspect that's changed - although this isn't unique to independent media - is that the financial models have shifted from a straight ad-run market (because let's face it, Google pays pennies if you're lucky) to a plethora of supported models, although not all are equal. 
 
“There's a big reliance on affiliate deals in the independent media space, and not everyone is great when it comes to disclosure there. Likewise for sponsored posts; while the allure of a quick payday is pretty easy to see, you've got to consider if selling out your audience is worth it depending on the message being sold,” Kidman says.
 
Tech Guide’s Stephen Fenech started his career in the tech pages of The Daily Telegraph before launching his own site a decade ago. He says that for independent media, their relationship with their readers and a more personal touch is the most important part when it comes to establishing a loyal following.
 
“I came from covering tech for a big company (News Limited) before starting Tech Guide and there have been a number of changes with independent tech media and the increased cut through they are seeing.
 
“Over the years, readers, listeners and viewers have built a high level of trust with me and the Tech Guide brand as I help them steer through these times when we rely more than ever on technology because they see me as a person and not a company. That endears them to me and they rely on my opinions and reviews.” 
 
Fenech adds that he believes those direct relationships with readers and responding to reader questions fills a spot left untouched by most mainstream outlets.
 
Adding the personal touch of communicating with readers and followers on email, through social media and on the radio has also helped grow not only our social media followings but also the visits to our Tech Guide site. That’s not something you’d expect from a large media company. It means independent media has to work a bit harder to get to these numbers but it’s well worth it. And the bonus result is also a lot of satisfied readers,” Fenech says.
 
Kidman’s stance is that the specialist skills of independent tech journalists are what set them apart from traditional media.
 
I think it (independent media) does its best when it works within specific niches that often get overlooked by the mainstream sites and papers -- consider what Leigh Stark does so well at Pickr, what Matt Sainsbury does at Digitally Downloaded, Pat Gray at Risky Biz or what Alex Boz does at ausretrogamer for example. 
 
“There's a wealth of specialist knowledge that goes into what they do, and that attracts audiences that I suspect often get overlooked in favour of "getting into the papers" in terms of coverage considerations.”

Membership privileges

  • Read and comment an all stories
  • Weekly digest of media and PR news (optional)
  • Post media releases to PRWire newswire
  • Advertise job vacancies
  • List your business in our PR directory


Please note that Influencing is used EXCLUSIVELY by media and influencers, as well as professionals who manage marketing and communications within their organisations, so we need a work email address.

More Media News

Zwartz joins SBS

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on
Henry Zwartz has signed on to SBS as a new investigative reporter starting 17 May.

He will produce content for the network’s TV, radio, and digital platforms.

Zwartz recently exited ABC, where he spent almost two years as video and radio reporter. 

Follow Zwartz on Twitter @HenryZwartz.

New staff entries at Ticker

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on
New hires are in with online news portal Ticker.

Costa Haritos joined as a news producer. He will be in charge of producing the periodic news bulletins and file online stories from Australia and overseas. 

Haritos was recently reporting at the Southern Highlands Express.  

Anthony Lucas is in as a news presenter covering the morning edition. However, he will be tasked on the Afternoon News show next month.

Carroll back at Sydney Morning Herald

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on
Lucy Carroll is working with the Sydney Morning Herald once again.

She stated in a tweet that she will be handling health topics once more.

Carroll was with the paper and the Sun Herald from 2012 to 2014.

Follow Carroll on Twitter @Lucy_Carroll.

Kern to host 102.3 Triple M Townsville afternoon

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on
Cliff Kern has rejoined Townsville’s radio scene as the afternoon host at 102.3FM Triple M.

The post is Kern’s first back in the booth since leaving Grant Broadcasters last year after 15 years, as mornings host for STAR 102.7 and different shows at STAR 1063.

The move is also full circle for Kern, as he started his radio career at 102.3FM in 2003, then labelled 4TO. 

Kern stated that while he is going back to the booth, he will continue managing his food truck events firm PUFT. 

“I am so excited to be returning to the station that gave me a chance to work in the industry 18 years ago. To be creating content alongside my childhood hero Pricey, and mentors Smithy and Dan Hill, I’m pinching myself. I’m proud to be joining a team that puts the community first,” said Kern.

Tune in to Kern on LinkedIn.

Daniels set for Newstalk ZB afternoons

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on
James Daniels is the new co-host of Newstalk ZB’s afternoon show, effective 13 July. 

He will succeed Phil Gifford, who is leaving the show after two years working with Simon Barnett. 

Despite the new hosting, Daniels will still run Coast 105.7’s morning show in Canterbury. His entry into Newstalk ZB was borne from increased efforts to improve the show’s thrust for more listeners, given his experience in community radio and local politics.

A second radio show, though, is carrying a hefty price. Daniels has agreed to resign his Coastal Ward seat on the Christchurch city council late next month, after the city government enacts its 2021-2031 Long Term Plan. 

“For the last four decades I’ve worked with and represented communities I’ve lived in, which has given me a very clear sense of what really matters to people, the things they care about, want to be heard on and want to talk about. There’s no better place to have those conversations with Kiwis than Newstalk ZB Aft

Stuchbery assumes new Weekly Times reporter post

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on
The Weekly Times has tapped Madeleine Stuchbery as its new commodity and focus reporter.

The role will see her cover the agricultural scene in regional communities across Australia, especially those found in isolated areas.

Stuchbery has been with the Times for the past three years, joining as grains reporter and then moved up to livestock editor.

Keep in touch with Stuchbery on Twitter @MadeStuchbery.

Edgar lands SBS channel manager post

By Jonas Lopez in Media News on
Natalie Edgar is the new channel manager of SBS and SBS Viceland, effective 14 June. 

She will oversee the programming schedules and development of SBS and SBS Viceland’s shows, plus be part of the SBS Television/Online Content Division’s leadership team.

Edgar hails from the ABC, where she managed the main ABC channel, handled acquisitions for ABC Children’s Television, and deputy controller for ABC1. She was also a former channel manager for the Discovery Channel ANZ, and Cartoon Network and Boomerang for Turner Broadcasting ANZ.

“As a second-generation Australian, I grew up with SBS in our home. I have seen firsthand how important SBS’s role in connecting all Australians plays out, and I’m so excited for the opportunity to work with such an engaged and exceptional team who champion diversity and inclusion through compelling, inspiring and entertaining content, every day,” said Edgar.

Follow Edgar on LinkedIn.
 

More News latest

Fresh hires at Eleven PR
New talent is in at Eleven PR.

Merger aims to make an Impact
Filtered Media merges with Social Impact Institute to form ImpactInstitute. ... Show more

New staff appointed to One Green Bean leadership
The One Green Bean leadership has been bolstered.

New promotions for opr staff
Promotions are in order at opr.

Wunderman Thompson takes up Commerce
Wunderman Thompson is acquiring Wunderman Thompson Commerce.