Om Malik arguing that the New York Times should fight the scrappy news upstarts not by playing their game, but by rising above:
Now, if they can actually overcome their angst — and it hurts me to say this — they can change the conversation in the media business away from the increasingly shallow content and instead bring the focus back to quality and in-depth journalism, which is their stock in trade. If the New York Times management were feeling bold, it would put $25 million to work on creating 100 other Snow Falls and basically change the reader’s expectations of what long-form digital content and journalism are in the new century.
Snow Fall is fairly amazing.
Marc Andreessen, speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference on Monday.
It was the same talk in which Peter Thiel predicted that Twitter would out-live the New York Times — which obviously had a lot of folks in the media industry up-in-arms. I’m sure the Times will continue to exist in some form for a long time, I just wonder how long it will be until they stop printing the actual paper. I bet it’s a lot sooner than a lot of people imagine.
John Gruber is all over the fallout of the This American Life/Mike Daisey fiasco.
The New York Times ran an op-ed by Daisey about his fabricated tales (the day after Steve Jobs passed away, no less). CBS News had a report in January widely citing Daisey.
So far, this all appears to be unrelated to the separate NYT article that kicked off the “iEconomy” series. But is there any question that Daisey’s initial “reports” at least in part led to these subsequent reports?
Reports that seemed to focus solely on Apple for no real reason beyond the fact that they’re now the largest tech company in the world with a possible blindspot thanks to Daisey’s story.
Reports filled with suggestions that Tim Cook called “patently false and offensive”.
Speaking of tech writers not actually knowing what they’re talking about, Henry Blodget wrote the following words this week:
The NYT’s gadget guru, David Pogue, did get a sneak-preview review copy of Apple’s new operating system for a week, which is another favor Apple PR gives to approved journalists. But he does not appear to have gotten access to Apple’s execs, the way John Gruber and the WSJ did.
Compelling, when you consider that such a move could be backlash for The New York Times’ “iEconomy” series. The only problem? Total bullshit.
As Gruber himself corrects:
By sheer coincidence, I can report that this is nonsense. When I left my briefing with Schiller last Wednesday in New York, waiting in the hallway for the next briefing was: David Pogue.
See also: Blodget taking a shit on Twitter’s product direction days before it’s revealed that Twitter will now be built into each and every copy of OS X Mountain Lion.
A lot of people have asked for my take on The New York Times piece yesterday about the true cost of making Apple products in China. Let me first just say that it’s an important piece full of good reporting by Charles Duhigg and David Barboza. Parts of it are very sad — sickening, really.
But let’s be honest. The post focuses on Apple because Apple is now arguably the most successful company on the planet. If they were, say, the 8th largest computer manufacturer, they probably wouldn’t have even been mentioned. Again, that’s not to say it shouldn’t have been written — it absolutely should have — but it’s important to keep that in mind.
The real key here is that this story could have been written about any number of technology companies that have to deal with hardware manufacturing. This sad state of affairs is the way the world works in this space. Anyone who thinks otherwise is naive.
Does that excuse Apple’s behavior in some situations? Not at all. But there also isn’t enough background here to know if Apple is even the worst enabler of these poor working conditions. That’s sort of implied a few times in the piece, but never fully backed up.
My TechCrunch colleague Devin Coldewey wrote a great response to the piece. As he writes:
Something the article only fleetingly acknowledges is that Foxconn is used by most of the major electronics brands in the world. Samsung, Microsoft, Amazon, and the rest all contract with Foxconn to manufacture, assemble, or finish their products. The threatened mass suicide the other week was, in fact, at an Xbox production facility.
So it has never been a surprise to me when I hear that Apple, and others, only do so much to change the situation in factories and factory towns in China. The simple fact of it is they’re not the ones at the reins. Foxconn and China have our all-important tech companies by the scruff of the neck, and bear the big bad audits by Apple (more likely by people representing people representing Apple) like they’d bear a kitten swiping at their face. It’s a high stakes game, and Foxconn and its like hold all the cards.
That’s something important that the NYT never addresses. The situation is decidedly more complicated than Apple simply turning a blind eye.
While this report brings such an issue to the forefront, similar pieces and stories surface quite frequently, actually. Guess what changes? Nothing. It’s shitty to say, but it’s the truth. And we all know it.
The fact of the matter is that we live in a world that demands amazing technology delivered to us at low costs and at great speed. That world leads to Foxconn.
We say we care about the means by which the results are reached when we read stories such as this one. But then we forget. Or we chose not to remember. We buy things and we’re happy that they’re affordable. And then we buy more things. And more. With huge smiles on our faces. Without a care in the world.
I’ve always wondered this myself. Figured it was a “we’re The New York Times and you’re not” type thing. But apparently it’s much more organic.
Also briefly mentions the whole “Jobs’s” thing.