Toward a Constructive Technology Criticism
What it means to cover technology is a moving target. Today, the technology beat focuses less on the technology itself and more on how technology intersects with and transforms everything readers care about---from politics to personal relationships. But as technology coverage matures, the distinctions between reporting and criticism are blurring.
Today, technology criticism is too narrowly defined. Criticism carries negative connotations—that of criticizing with unfavorable opinions rather than critiquing to offer context and interpretation. Much of the criticism coming from people widely recognized as “critics” perpetuates these negative associations by employing problematic styles and tactics, and by exercising unreflexive assumptions and ideologies. As a result, many journalists and bloggers are reluctant to associate their work with criticism or identify themselves as critics. This report argues we need to recognize a larger circle of journalists, bloggers, academics, and critics contributing to the public discourse about technology and society.
Besides deconstructing, naming, and interpreting technological phenomena, criticism has the potential to assemble new insights and interpretations. The report lays out the elements of a constructive technology criticism that aims to bring stakeholders together in productive conversation rather than pitting them against each other.
Join Tow Research Fellow Sara M. Watson for a panel launching our latest report: Toward a Constructive Technology Criticism.
RESEARCH LEAD AND MODERATOR
Sara M. Watson is a technology critic and a research fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism and the author of this report. She is also an affiliate of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
Rose Eveleth is a producer, designer and writer. She is the producer and host of Flash Forward podcast and has published with Motherboard, Fusion, The Atlantic, Eater, Aeon, and Nautilus, among others. @roseveleth
Virginia Heffernan is a journalist and cultural critic and the author of Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art. She has worked as a staff writer for The New York Times—first as a TV critic, then as a magazine columnist, and then as an opinion writer. @page88
Light refreshments will be provided.