If you are currently a journalist (or formerly practiced this noble profession) and are looking…
We sit down with Simon Hill, freelance tech journalist and former associate editor for Digital Trends, to answer 10 questions about his role and work. Fun fact, Simon Hill a journalist from across the pond. Simon writes loads of different articles, including features, editorials, reviews, round-ups, and much more! He is a lover of tech, game designer, horror fan, father, and insomniac – as well as, seasoned journalist. For more great journalists covering all things fintech, check out our blog, 5 Tech Journalists to Follow on Twitter: AI Edition.
Let’s dive into our 10 questions with Simon Hill to learn more about the tech that Simon can’t live without, his most important part of the day, and one nugget of feedback he would give to all the PR pros out there.
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What is the most important part of your day, and why?
For work stuff, the middle. In the morning, it’s coffee and email and editing. Late morning I’ll get ready to sit down and write, and I’ll be focused until lunch, sometimes right through lunch if I’m really into writing something. By late afternoon I’m done with serious writing, and I’ll be chatting to colleagues or doing interviews. The middle is when I’m most awake, and the house is at its quietest.
What is your favorite subject to write about and why?
New technologies that are emerging because they’re often exciting, and there’s a challenge to working out what impact they might have on our world.
What is your favorite part about covering your beat?
I love to review gadgets, whether it’s a phone, a tablet, a smartwatch, or something else. Getting my hands on things that aren’t available yet, testing them out, and then offering people honest advice on what works and what doesn’t is very rewarding.
Do you have a certain routine or checklist you follow when you write stories?
Nothing set in stone. If I have space, like for a big feature, I like to think about stuff for a good length of time before writing it up. It’s also important to finish a draft and sleep on it then revisit before submitting, but time is a luxury you don’t always have with deadlines looming.
How do you prefer to work with sources and brands?
With sources, I prefer to talk to them directly. You can garner so much more from a quick call than from an email exchange, even a lengthy one. With brands, it’s always great to get advance notice about things, scrambling to get a story up as fast as possible is rarely fun.
When PR pros pitch you, what is one thing you wish you could tell them in return?
If I don’t reply, it’s because I don’t have time. Sometimes the volume of email is so ridiculous that I simply wouldn’t get my work done if I took the time to reply to everything.
What tech industry do you think is going to change the most over the next five years?
I think the big players in tech have been enjoying a period of unbridled access to personal data, and they’ve been shaping what we have access to in terms of the information we read every day, largely based on who will pay them. Still, they’re failing to take responsibility for the consequences. Social media and search engines are coming under more pressure to change, and something has to give.
How do you see journalism changing in the next ten years?
I think it’s already becoming more collaborative and more visual. There’s more creative freedom with online journalism than with print in the way you can present a story to readers. Coders and artists are now working with writers to showcase a story in the best way possible and to find new formats that might cater to readers with different amounts of time to spare. They include interactivity and video that enhances the story. Many online articles are also now living things that evolve, and they may be updated several times by different writers over months and years.
What tech can’t you live without?
The internet and all my windows onto it — my phone, my TV, my computer. It’s important to have some time away from tech in your life, but I’d rather not live without any of it.
When you aren’t working, what do you enjoy in your free time?
Spending time with my wife and kids, movies, gaming, surfing, and travel.
It’s always a great time learning more about the journalists behind our favorite articles. For more great conversations with journalists like Simon, subscribe to our “Coffee with a Journalist” podcast where we talk with top-tier journalists from your favorite outlets like The New York Times, TIME, and The Wall Street Journal. Also, follow us on Twitter to stay updated on our latest PR blogs, pitch templates, and more.