I saw on Daring Fireball today that John Gruber didn’t know, to my surprise, that David Pogue isn’t an employee of The New York Times.
I only knew about Pogue’s status because of an interview I heard two years ago, when Leo Laporte had him on This Week in Tech. I should probably listen to it again, but I’d be forced to count how many times Pogue says, “dude.” It was interesting to listen to, especially as Pogue pointed out repeatedly and defensively that he’s not a “journalist.” He’s a columnist. I can say he was defensive, I’m a blogger.
What Pogue calls himself means nothing to me. But I’d still appreciate it if he revealed his conflicts of interest when he’s reviewing a product. For The New York Times !
Pogue makes money writing books about Apple software. He builds a bigger name for himself by getting exclusive access to unreleased Apple products, along with other non-journalists like Walt Mossberg. If he starts slamming Apple products or grading them on a tougher curve he can kiss his access to Steve Jobs goodbye. In the interview he more or less admits he’s not going to ask the tough questions because he’ll lose access. And because it’s not his job. (He’s not a journalist.)
Daring Fireball linked to a July 6 post (that I missed) by the New York Times readers’ representative declaring that Pogue’s appearances as a representative of the publication will be curbed.
Arthur S. Brisbane: ”…my inquiry into it has led to a Times internal review and, as a consequence, Pogue is barred from making any more speeches like this one to public relations professionals.”
I don’t expect much to come of this. Pogue is an extremely popular piece of New York Times content. Personally, I find his videos over the top and not as funny or informative as his commenters find them. Fans jumped to his defense in the July 6 comment thread, with excuses similar to those Pogue made on Leo’s show. Which was that essentially all tech reporters are cozy with the tech companies. If Mossberg can collect big paydays for speaking why shouldn’t Pogue?
We all know there will always be certain reporters who get special access. According to the NYTPicker piece on the subject Pogue actually claims he’s pushed the New York Times to reveal his other endeavors, but failed.
The average New York Times reader and iPad buyer could care less about any of this. Granted, Pogue isn’t the only one up to these kinds of shenanigans. But he’s high-profile and with that comes the heat. Am I turning to Pogue for truth in technology reporting? No way. I read him from time to time – but only so I know what everyone else is reading.
Leo Laporte’s interview with Pogue, from the TWiT network. 1:39:20h into the show.
David Pogue’s disclosure, undated, at the New York Times: A Note About Ethics and Disclosure. You have to click through to his profile to find it, it’s not listed within his columns.| Permalink