It’s Thursday afternoon and time for another exciting installment of “3Q’s in 3 Min.” Every Thursday, socialTNT channels the spirit of citizen journalism by putting bloggers, reporters, PR pro’s or anyone with something to say about social media in front of the camera for a short, three minute interview. In addition to helping PR peeps pitch these individuals more effectively, the videos are meant to encourage dialog between reporters, PR/communications practitioners and marketers on the future of media.
This Thursday, socialTNT presents our first of two chats with John Markoff, Senior Writer covering Tech in Silicon Valley for the New York Times. In todays “3 Q’s in 3 Min” John tells us specifics about his beat, key differences between NYT and WSJ, and ponders the future of social media.
If you like tech and read the New York Times, there’s a 99.9999% chance you’ve read John’s column; he’s been with the Times since 1988. His resume includes The San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Examiner and two seminal tech magazines: Byte and Infoworld. Broadly speaking, if you have a Hardware or Security client, John’s probably on you list–but don’t pigeon hole him, he writes about what he likes. For a tech geek like myself, the thought of meeting Markoff was a little intimidating.
That anxiety was even more amplified when I realized that getting into the San Francisco Bureau of the New York Times is pretty much like entering Fort Knox; I reckon there is more security getting through to the NYT than there is trying to get into the US Secret Service’s office on the same block. First off, it’s in a nondescript building with a Starbuck’s in the lobby (Yeah…THAT one!). After sneaking past a guard, entering a top secret code on a touch-pad and going through TWO sets of double doors, I really expected to be escorted to John by security guards. Instead, I was greeted by the man himself, who cordially welcomed me into the offices of one of the world’s top daily publications.
Let me state this for the record: John Markoff was one of the most pleasant reporters I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Talking to him before taping reminded me of my favorite college professor: approachable and full of wisdom. I guess that’s why our warm-up interview stretched into a full hour!
For me, it was crazy to hear about the rough-and-tumble days in Silicon Valley, you know: back when Infoworld wasn’t sure if there was enough news to validate weekly coverage. Over the span of his carrier, John has encountered many a chance to analyze the changing ways we communicate, so discussing social media came naturally. He’s currently really into IM and Google Reader, but feels Twitter is just too much.
Fun Facts about John:
- He lives 5 blocks from me on the edge of San Francisco’s beautiful Noe Valley
- Has two Mac’s (one is a black Macbook!) and a PC running Vista
- Is on Facebook and LinkedIn
- Felt Twitter was information overload
- Occasionally writes on Bits, the NYT’s tech blog.
- Moonlighting as an author, Markoff has written several books including one about the take-down of infamous hacker Kevin Mitnick (for the complete details of THAT truly outlaw era in computer history, see this wikipedia article), and another book attributing the 60’s counterculture to the rise of personal computing
Compare this interview with John from 2003 about online media and blogging with the answers he gives in today’s video, and you’ll know that with Tech anyone’s guess can be a winner.
Where do YOU see the future of tech going?
Join us next week for part two where John walks us through the history of PR pitching and gives a few tips to those looking to get into the pages of the New York Times.
[Due to technical difficulties with YouTube, I was unable to post this piece with video until late (pay back for yesterday’s post on future of online video?). Sorry guys.]