Observation: why the press can be difficult sometimes

I laugh when people think of me as media.  I think of myself as an engineer who likes to solve problems.  Being an Industrial Engineer, I spend a lot of time thinking about the human element in projects.  With this blog I can now write a bunch of my observations and share it with anyone who wants to visit this blog. The great thing about blogs, twitter, and other social media is you can now have a voice even if you don't work for a major publication.

One of the observations I want to share is one I made over 25 years ago when i was working for Apple.  There was an evening party after an event like MacWorld with a wide range of people from the Mac ecosystem including Apple HW and SW developers.  There was a particular guy who was dressed poorly, had bags to grab stuff being handed out, and an attitude. This guy was nerdy than the rest, and I worked with the Apple developers with not the greatest social skills who I thought were nerds.  I looked at his badge and he had a media badge.  I watched him a bit more and he had an air of entitlement that said treat me with respect. Why? If not, I'll write something really bad.  Many people kept their distance from him.

To be a technical reporter, you need to have some technical knowledge to understand the press releases. But, in general they are not technical enough to work for the companies that make the stuff. What got me thinking is how does it feel to be constantly looking at the latest technology and know you aren't qualified to work there, the people you are talking to are changing the world, and getting paid really well with stock options.  There are a handful of journalists that are successful, but they don't retire after their company goes IPO.  

It is easy to talk to the press the same way you talk to your peers about a technology.  Keep in mind that your product and its success can actually rub someone the wrong way.

When a person does get rubbed the wrong way, they can spend more time to show this person is wrong by interviewing someone with an opposing view. This can also be called unbiased reporting.  How many times does a journalist say this person is the expert and this other person is some random person I finally found with an opposing view that is not credible as the expert opinion.  The unbiased reporting is an interesting area.

Where can we find unbiased journalism?

A Hemingway novel ends with the line, "Isn't it pretty to think so?" I've always wanted to know what was true, not merely what I might want to believe -- including about Obama. I assume some WSJ readers are the same way.


I was a journalist; I know how and how not to game statistics. I suspect this "study" of gaming statistics because it uses two different time periods: recessions post- WWII and post-1960. Isn't that an apples-to-oranges comparison? I suspect the statistics were gamed to make Obama look as bad as possible. I know for sure that's at least one reason why this was published in Opinion rather than the news pages.

In fact, this evident gaming makes me disappointed in the WSJ. But it'll never be a perfect world -- as all conservatives know.


It's tough to be unbiased when you are reporting on a subject that you enjoy, but think you could do.  Imagine if sports journalisms was composed of those who didn't make the team.  If entertainment reporting was composed of the waitresses/waiters who couldn't make it on Broadway.  

One tip about talking to the press is to try and get some background on them.  When you talk to the person keep in mind you could be rubbing them the wrong way.  This is why phone interviews can be so difficult.  When you see the person you can see how they are reacting to you.