This is not the tech news

This is not the tech news

Submitted by James Purser on Sat, 07/16/2011 - 09:28

I've blogged about the main stream media confusing life with tech news before but todays Sydney Morning Herald Tech section front page needs another poke.

Let's have a look at the editors picks (click on the image below for a clearer copy):

So, the most prominent "tech" story in the editors picks is a woman who is overeating for money. Yup, she's being paid by men around the world who have a "feeder" fetish (that is, they get excited by watching a woman eat huge amounts of food) to put on weight. Her connection to technology? She has a website.

The second story concerns Lady Gaga and the fact that her account on youtube has been suspended for copyright violations. Again, the technology is secondary to the actual story.

The third story actually concerns something where technology is at the fore. Apple is finally doing something about the pricing structure that has seen Australians pay more for apps and music than USAnians, despite the fact that the AUD is stronger than the USD.

The big picture on the bottom left is also another actual tech story (yay 2 so far). This one concerns a non-invasive system to assist some legally blind people. It consists of a pair of glasses that have leds embedded in them and two cameras. The cameras feed directly into a processor which then light up the leds to warn the user of impending obstacles. While it won't work for all blind people, it's still pretty cool.

Then we leave the actual tech news to get back to gossip, not one, but two articles about how Malcolm Turnbull using twitter. One to defend himself over comments he made about Tony Abbott and the other to release the phone number of someone who had been harrassing him through abusive sms. These aren't tech stories, twitter is not the focus here, it's just the medium, a medium that millions of people use every day without it being newsworthy.

So out of the six top stories in the "Editors Picks" of the SMH tech section, four are people stories, where tech is incidental to the actual story.

My message to the Fairfax tech people (whether Asher or Ben will be reading this who knows) is to stop masquerading these stories as true tech. They're not. They are political stories, or people stories, or WTF? stories. A tech story is a story where the technology is the core of the story, without which the story wouldn't stand up. 

And no, "it happened on facebook/twitter/google+" is not a tech story unless what happened actually concerns a technology. For instance, "Facebook launches Skype integration" is a tech story. "Man exposes buttocks on facebook" is not a tech story.

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