Friday, May 26, 2006

My new ZDNet blog

Today marks the long-awaited (by me, anyway) debut of my blog on ZDNet Australia, called rather unimaginatively Reality Check (not by me). The pay is not stellar, but it's a hundred times more than I had been getting from AdSense on this blog. Not that I'll be abandoning this blog, oh no. The ZDNet gig is operating under some perfectly reasonable guidelines, such as not discussing my own sites all that much, which is part of what I'll be doing here.

Plus there are some other topics I want to explore here that it is hard to do there, such as getting stuck into Steve Gillmor. Honestly, do ZDNet US have any editors? How can Gillmor get away with one of his recent blog posts being composed solely of three sentences asking for some guy to call him? How disrespectful is that of his audience? Can you imagine that being printed in a magazine? It also chafes me that Gillmor is allowed to spam for his personal interests like GestureBank and his podcast in every other entry, and in his last one he even talks about his personal life. Does Gillmor have to abide by any guidelines at all?

This only cements a feeling of mine that I've had since I started in the tech journalism business, which is that Australian IT journalists focus on their audiences better than their US counterparts. Maybe it's because Australian audiences are orders of magnitude smaller, so the journos who serve those audiences have to work harder at pleasing them than in the US market where the numbers are always relatively healthy. I feel this difference is most stark in opinion pieces, where US journos tend to appear out of touch more openly than Australian journos, especially when they get older. I've read enough US wire copy working for various licensed publications to say that with some authority. Gillmor is only one of the more striking examples of this trend, and I would also point at Dvorak and Cringely as being in the same rut. Australian journos don't become so arrogant and hidebound sitting on soapboxes pontificating to the plebs, they merely retire to the coast and freelance, like John Costello who passed away this week. I only met Costello a couple of times but I had more respect for him and his colleagues like Bill Dawes than I could for just about any member of the Yank commentariat.

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