On the newest episode of Coffee with a Journalist our host, Beck Bamberger, chats 1:1 with TechRadar’s Senior Home Entertainment Editor, Nick Pino. Learn about Nick’s love for video games, how he’s written over 1000 articles over his journalism career and his belief system when it comes to a work-life balance.
As a senior editor at TechRadar, he specializes in content creation but also spends a great deal of time in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). He is constantly identifying and capitalizing on e-commerce opportunities, product evaluation and results measurement through tools like Google Analytics. He manages a diverse team of writers and editors to create content relating to the TV, Audiovisual, Virtual Reality, Smart Home devices, Streaming Services and Video Game sections of the website. Aside from this, he also reviews flagship products from major electronics companies like Microsoft, Sony, LG, Samsung, Google, and Amazon.
Click below to listen to the newest episode of Coffee with a Journalist featuring Nick Pino of TechRadar!
Jered: Welcome to this week's episode of Coffee With A Journalist, a podcast that is just that. We have coffee, we’ve got journalists and we've got great conversation ahead. I'm Jered Martin. I'm the co-founder and COO here at OnePitch
Beck: And I'm Beck Bamberger. I'm also the co-founder of OnePitch, the CEO of BAM Communications and the host for today's podcast. Today, we have on Nick Pino. He's a senior editor at TechRadar. He's written over a thousand articles in his career. He's also a gamer and he's got a lot of interesting perspectives on the future of journalism, the ethics that involve it and we're going to hear from him right now.
Beck: All right, Nick from TechRadar
Nick: Yeah, from TechRadar.
Beck: We have coffee, we have coffee mugs.
Beck: You have water.
Nick: I got water. That's okay.
Beck: That's okay.
Nick: I'm not much of a coffee drinker anyway, so this is perfect.
Beck: Perfect. It's at least in a coffee mug. Thank you for spending time with me today. We have so many things to discuss as we were kind-of getting into things such as ethics in journalism, your background with computer science/communications and your thousand plus articles you've now written for TechRadar. And right now you're in a time of doing the holiday rush of reviews. So let's just jump into that. What’s it like reviewing so many tech products?
Nick: Not fun. No, I'm kidding. It really is exciting. The holiday rush is very exciting because you'll get the latest and greatest tech delivered to you in such a short period of time. So, this week I've got this 4K TV and next week I'm going to probably have um, a new streaming device and the week after that probably a new VR headset and it's like this rapid fire of great products coming to your door every day. Um, but your mind has to be kind of elastic, right? Like you have to be in the TV mindset one day. Then the next day you have to be in the VR mindset and think about all the products in that category because technology reviews, it's very different than other types of reviews out there, than a video game review. They are reviewing video games as art. I'm not reviewing technology as art. I'm reviewing technology the way you'd almost review a lawn mower, like it's on its technical merits versus what's out there versus the competition. So, switching between those mindsets is tricky. It's a rush and with all these products, one right after another, it can be a little hectic, a little zany.
Beck: You said in one of your recent Twitter posts “Oh, if I haven't responded, it's not personal. I'm just in the throes of the season if you will.” You also have a pinned tweet that I wanted to mention because it stood out to me as the quick reminder. Do you know which one I'm referencing?
Nick: Yes, yes.
Beck: Okay, so it says here, “Take care of yourself today. Whatever deadlines you're trying to meet, just remember that none of them are as important as your health and your sanity. Take care of yourself first and foremost.” What made you post and pin that?
Nick: I think living here in San Francisco, living here at this tech center hub, it's very easy to work yourself to the bone, to work yourself all day and all night because these projects are relentless. Whether you're working on a game, whether you're releasing a product, you are going to be asked to work in crunch time for an extended period of time. And when you come out of crunch time as a journalist, as a developer, you're not going to be in a good place. So, I want people to take that time to be in a good place all the time. You don't deserve to be happy just for one week after a project is finished. You deserve to be happy every single day you're working on these projects and you know, take that time to meditate, to read, spend time with your family, go home for dinner, take that time for yourself. You're absolutely worth it. And if your company doesn't understand that, then you're at the wrong company.
Beck: Did you have an experience that showed you were at the wrong company?
Nick: No, um, I've worked at Future for the last, well if you include my internship, eight years. So I've been with the company for a very long time and depending on who my boss was, ‘cause I've worked at a number of publications. I started in video game journalism and I went into technology journalism and depending on who my boss is, they'll put different pressures on you, you know? But the last few bosses I've had over a TechRadar, the last few editors-in-chief have been just some of the best people. For a while I had Darren Murph who used to work at Engadget before working over at Dolby as their head of global communication and that dude is just inspiring, just absolutely inspiring. And so he kind-of imparted some of those philosophies on me before he left. So-
Beck: I think it's a good reminder that reporters and editors and such have losses, too.
Nick: Oh, yeah. Oh absolutely. You know, people kind of expect that I can just post whatever. Like “Hey, Nick, just post the story today” and I have a lot of autonomy in what I cover. I'm a senior editor. Um, not only do I set my own schedule, I set the schedules of like a dozen freelancers that I have working for me. We soundbar junior editors, I have three junior editors that I manage their time for, too. So, I do have a lot of autonomy, but at the end of the day, my boss is still the one who is saying, what did you get done this week? What do you have planned for next week? Um, and I still have to provide really solid, I'm working on these flagship products. That's a thing that people don't even think about is when you reach a certain level of editorial, you actually have to spend more time doing flagship products. And it's not that I don't want to cover indie products, it's not that I don't want to cover the kickstarter projects. I do, I absolutely do. But when it comes down to someone writing a flagship, Samsung TV review or um, a Kickstarter project on like, uh, a record player, I probably have to cover the TV. I probably have to cover the flagship TV. And there are plenty of publications that we'll cover that kickstarter tech. There are plenty out there and um, and hopefully there'll be some time for them in my schedule so I can cover it too one of these days. I haven't found it yet, though.
Beck: I was going to say. All your free time, Nick, in all your free time. Hence, that tweet. And by flagship, you're meaning the big tech brands that we all know that we all use in our lives. So never little startups, never the kickstarters and such- the Samsungs, Facebooks, Amazons. And actually, tell us a little bit about the Amazon experience you just had.
Nick: Oh, yeah. Yeah. So this is fun. So, my last two weeks have been really busy. Um, I was at an Oculus event last week, Oculus Connect Five, which is their annual developer's conference down in San Jose and I got to try the Oculus Quest, which is their new standalone VR headset, uh offering, six degrees of freedom tracking, which for people who don't understand the degrees of freedom tracking, that's more or less complete hand tracking. So not on a plane of just up, down, left, right, but in any way that you can move your hands that will track it naturally, which is really cool. Before that, I was in Seattle for Amazon's secret press event. They really didn't want us talking about it before they announced anything. They really didn't even want it publicly known. So, that event was interesting because as an editor you try and prepare the night before for, uh, some of the products that could come up. So in my head, I was thinking, well maybe there's a new Amazon Echo. We had heard rumors that there was a microwave, that there is like an Alexa-based microwave, which actually did end up happening which sounds ridiculous. I know it sounds ridiculous.
Beck: Whoa, really?
Nick: That's a thing that actually is going to exist shortly. They showed it off onstage. Well anyways, I um, I prepared just just two or three products and I sat down at that press event and they said, “We're going to show you 70 new products today.” Right then and there I was almost ready to just like call it, just like fold up my laptop and be like, “Well, this was fun. I'm, I'm good here,” but it all worked out. We got to see a whole bunch of new stuff. Um, the Amazon Echo show "second generation," they have a Fire TV DVR, which is a super weird concept. They had the microwave, they had the Amazon Echo wall clock, like a clock that is, uh, Alexa enabled. So, just tons of weird and wacky products, but tons of cool stuff too. So that was, that was a surprise for me. Good and bad.
Beck: Okay. Now, speaking of all these Alexa enabled devices, you have living in a smart home as one of your bio sentences here. What does your smart home look?
Nick: Like if you go into my house and say the "A" word, if you say “Alexa” in any room, about five devices will listen to you at a time. It's a little preposterous and I think it's because they keep building smart assistants into everything. You know, I love, um, I love Sono speakers. So I, you know, I run the AV home entertainment channel and I really love Sono speakers, but they built Alexa into those. Now you can mute, you can individually mute all these products. Um, and I, and I try and mute them as quickly as they come in, but it just seems like everything is Alexa enabled these days. My house is just loaded with these suckers and anytime you say anything remotely resembling "OK Google" or "Alexa," I have a Cortana speaker and any of those words or anything close to it, they'll turn on and say like, "I don't know how to help you with that." And you're like, "I was not talking to you." Alexa, come on!
Beck: What's the solution for that? So many voices to that call, that name.
Nick: Yeah. So, I was in a meeting with some of the Amazon API people the other day and they're improving that kind of stuff. So, trying to limit it to just “Alexa” and getting better, you know, that's voice recognition stuff. So, what happens is when the device hears something and thinks maybe it’s “Alexa,” that gets sent in an API request to an Amazon web server that processes that and it will, it's kind of like a two-step verification and then it's like, “Oh you did hear Alexa, what came after that?” So, they are getting better about this two-step verification to make sure you're saying that exact thing.
Beck: It seems like we're a long ways away from that, though.
Nick: Yeah, I don't think, I don't think we're going to get to the point where it's insanely accurate for a little bit now. And you'll also run into a components issue. You know, you've got microphones, you have a microphone array in these products. If you want even better noise cancellation tech for these microphones, that raises the cost of the product. And you know, if you ask any product manager, they're going to tell you they are given a set price and they are told to hit that price. So that's a challenge. That's a challenge for them.
Beck: And the consumer.
Nick: And the consumer, right? Yeah.
Beck: Now we just jumped right in, but I want to go back to where you even started to get a glimmer of journalism as an occupation. And you got a BA at the University of New York at Buffalo with computer science and then communication. So, I don't think I've seen yet someone who was in the comms department and sitting in computer science classes, nor a computer science person sitting in comms classes. So how was that and how did that combo come to be?
Nick: There were not many people in those tech classes and the crossover classes between those two things. You know, it's a funny story. When I was in high school and people had said, “What would you like to do? What, what do you want to do with your life?” I'd always told them I wanted to make video games. I always said, you know, I have this passion about video games and I don't know how to draw and at this time I wasn't a very good writer and I said I don't really know how to manage stuff very well. So I'm like, I guess that only leaves me programming I guess. Like out of all these things, I should just be a programmer. And I was touring schools and uh, I grew up in Buffalo and so the University of Buffalo was a great engineering school. They had a really good computer science program and when I toured I went on my little tour there, I had said, “Do you guys do any sort of video game based curriculum? Will I learn how to make games here? Cause that's totally what I'm interested in.” And the person that was giving the tour was like, “Oh yeah, no problem. You're definitely gonna learn how to make games. Like definitely a thing.” Anyways, I went through the program four years later and I never learned how to make a video game. That was never a thing I learned how to do. But along the way, along this path, I realized “You know what? I don't think I want to make games as a programmer. I think I would rather maybe write games or write about games.” So, I started taking some writing courses, some journalism courses, and that was all in the communications department. I worked for the school paper there, um, and that was a, that was a great experience ‘cause it gave me the work ethic needed to be a journalist. That imparted it very early on in my career that you need to work every single day, writing every single day, consuming content, consuming a video game, consuming a movie, and then writing. So I did that and I caught a very lucky break my junior year where I was able to become an intern for Official Xbox Magazine. So I moved from Buffalo to San Francisco, and I interned at Official Xbox Magazine and I helped them for about three-four months working on a number of issues going to the developer meet and greets, seeing games, doing all that good stuff. And I learned more in those four months probably, you know, then I would have learned going for a full journalism degree. So when I left school, I felt really good because I had the knowledge to understand what coders and product managers have to look at on a day-to-day basis and what's reasonable to expect from a product without necessarily having to craft that product myself. So, it gave me this really great technical background, but then also a communication background to discuss with these people what they're working on.
Beck: That's fantastic.
Nick: I know worked out, isn't it weird? Hindsight, it always works out, but at the time I remember being like, “I don't know what I'm going to do. I don't know who's going to hire me,” but it always somehow works out. And that's such a key message I think is like, your life will work out. I'm not sure how, you're probably not sure how, but it will somehow some way.
Beck: So how did you then get the first notion that, “Oh, there's technology publications, you know, news outlets, that maybe I could work for”?
Nick: This is again, just another great stroke of luck. When I left college, this was…
Nick: 2012. And the market had been recovering to that point, but it still wasn't amazing. People still weren't getting tons of jobs like the way it is today. There are so many job postings out there, this is a great time to be in the job market. It was not great back then. So, when I left school I had to work at like a Best Buy for a while, which uh, which is really funny. Um, it's a, it's really funny. Real short side note here, when the Best Buy I worked at, uh, reviewed .com's managing editor worked at the same Best Buy and we both became tech journalists. Like what a weird small world. Yeah, yeah. Uh, well anyways, yeah. Nick is a good friend of mine, so okay. So, I was working at this Best Buy, they had a video game magazine called Hack Gamer and they needed an associate editor and I had said, “Well, I work at a Best Buy, I have internship experience at Official Xbox magazine.” They said, “Would you like to come on? Would you like to join us as an associate editor?” I said, “Sure. This sounds great. This is amazing.” And they said, “Okay, we'll need you next week in San Francisco.” And I was living in, I was back in Buffalo. So in seven days, I was like, oh my, I have to get my life together. I told Best Buy like I'm really sorry, I would never do this to anyone ever, but I have to leave right now. I'm going to California to take this editor position. And they're like, “You go right now.” So, I packed up bags, came out there and I helped them work on the January issue that was shipping, you know, that week. Um, so I was kind-of thrown right into it. And one of the roles on Hack Gamer that I was responsible for the gear section. I was responsible for this very, very small, uh, back of issue gear section that only had about eight pages in it. But that got me in contact with the tech companies that are gaming adjacent like Razor is a good one, Corsair, Logitech, all of those guys were kind of my first contacts in the industry. So then, unfortunately, as happens with most publications, they closed down. So, I was given a termination notice at Hack Gamer and I was told that your publication is closing down, you only have about six months left on this contract, so you should probably start looking for work. Two cubicles over was TechRadar, which had just launched in the U.S., I believe, in like 2012 maybe? And this is 2014 at the time. It just launched in the U.S. two years ago and they needed someone, ironically enough, to cover game technology, to cover a video game peripherals, which was all of the stuff that I had been doing.
Beck: Two cubicles away?
Nick: Yeah. Well like on the other side of where I was working was TechRadar and their editor-in-chief is like Nick, you're great. And the editor-in-chief at this time was a guy named Will O'Neil, he used to work on G4techTV. I don't know if you remember G4. Um, but yeah, he used to work on there for Attack of the Show. So, he was my boss at the time and yeah, he brought me on board, got me started. One thing led to another. I was an associate editor of home entertainment and then in 2016 I took on the entire section and yeah, just been running with that ever since.
Beck: What a good story of how to get that first job and then the next jobs.
Nick: I know, I've had very, very good luck in this industry and I'm super grateful to everyone that's kind-of helped me take it to that next level. And so my key advice there is find a mentor. Find someone who can really, really help you out because you never know when they're going to leave and go to somewhere else and they'll probably take you with them. If you do a good job for them, they'll probably take you and you never know when you need that out.
Beck: Good advice, Nick
Nick: Thank you. Thank you. That's what I'm here for.
Beck: Speaking of advice, let's talk about PR people. So, tell. Tell us a little bit about your perspective of working with publicists, the good and the bad. The ugly.
Beck: Tips and any tricks you have.
Nick: Yeah, I've, I thought long and hard. I thought this might be part of the interview, so I came prepared for this. It is so important and I've read some of your articles as well and you said this too: Be authentic. Authenticity is so, so important. One sincere pitch is better than 10 generic pitches. I can't tell you how many times per day I'll get a pitch on medical technology or I'll get a pitch on car technology and sure these things are kind of adjacent to what I do sort of. But if you ever read TechRadar, you would never see a medical device covered on TechRadar. We do consumer-facing products. So this is a PR person who just added me to a list, who just threw something together. And with that PR person, that kinda builds distrust because then when I see that name again on another pitch, I almost delete it immediately. In my inbox, I'll probably get 200 pitches every morning that I've got to go through and about 180 of them are deleted within the first two seconds of me looking at them.
Beck: Two seconds?
Nick: You have about two seconds before. So like if that, if the headline...
Beck: I hope people are listening to this because that's fast.
Nick: Yeah. If your headline and your tagline are not enticing and then that first sentence has nothing to do with what I do, I'll delete that. So, that's the only way I can get through my inbox in a reasonable amount of time. Remember, editors a lot of times are responsible for more than one thing. What I mean there is, you know, even if you're a features editor, even if you're a home entertainment editor, I still have to do news. You know, we have news editors, but the news editors can't just do news. They need other editors to contribute to that. So, my morning: get through emails as fast as humanly possible, find the relevant stories and get those written up, get in contact with those PR people, get additional information, write that up as soon as possible. So yeah, you have about two seconds. And that's what I mean about being sincere and authentic is if I see an email that's like, “Hey Nick, I know you're busy, check this out real quick.” and is a really short, brief email, that's like “Nick, I saw last week you wrote about um, this soundbar we have a brand new soundbar coming out. Here's how it's different. Here's why I think you're gonna like it. We already have, you know, 500,000 people signed up for a preorder.” That to me is very enticing. I will very seriously consider covering that.
Beck: So let's go through that. That was sincere, short, pointing to an article you wrote that was referenced and then had some meat around why is it important? Why is it distinct? That type of thing. I hear from people sometimes and they say, oh, this kills them. They write up a listicle of some sort, has 32 products in it or something, and then you have a PR person say, Oh, can you add in this one? It's after it's been published. I'm thinking, what is the success rate of that? Probably zero.
Nick: It's, it's very low. Now, this is interesting. This is, I know you want to talk about the evolution of journalism at some point and I'll talk briefly about that right now. One of the things you need to do to stay relevant in SEO is update articles. Google looks at how frequently articles are updated. So, I manage a lot of really high trafficking articles, um, things that people search for and they don't even really think that they're searching for them. You know, they need a new pair of headphones, “best headphones.” Um, they're about to fly somewhere, “best noise canceling headphones,” “best soundbars for their TV,” “best TV.” You're going to buy a new TV, “best TV.” You type that stuff in. I do a lot of those and I do a lot of updates to those. If somebody says, "Hey, can you look at this product?" I'll usually say, I'll usually evaluate it. Think if it's possibly a good fit and if it is a good fit, I'll, I'll audition it for that list. A pitch does not equal, I will put your product on the list, um, and equals you think it's a good fit, I think it's a good fit, let's see if it's a good fit. Let's do the testing necessary to put it on that list.
Beck: Oh, so you do the testing to see if it should stick. And it gets traffic.
Nick: Oh yeah. Yeah. Yes. I mean ‘cause that's the most important part, right? I mean, especially for tech journalism, people want to know that you are qualified to do this and that you've actually looked at it. And that is the difference between, people always say like, “Oh, like a tech blogger could do what you're doing” and in some ways that's true and in some ways, it's not. I don't think a tech blogger would go through all of the hassles of calling in each product, if they call in 20-30 products, look at them all, comparing, you know, create a top 10, do all of the write-ups necessary for all that, I don't think they're going to do that. I think they're going to look, sometimes some of these people will just look at an Amazon best sellers list, like top 10 most sold products, write up an article around that, put in e-commerce lengths, collect the 5% or whatever they made from each sale and be done with it. But that's not, that's not journalism, first of all, that's not journalism. Uh, but also that gives everyone else a really bad experience. That's not giving people the information they need to know. So.
Beck: That kind-of goes into the ethics that we were talking about with journalism. You were kind-of getting into that topic. I want to bring that into now for our listeners and how we went down that funnel. So, tell me a little bit of how you think of the ethics in journalism.
Nick: Yeah. You know, I'm very lucky I don't cover, um, political journalism. I don't cover politics because no one's life is on the line with tech journalism. And I'm, I'm so, so thankful for that. The people that cover politics do an amazing, amazing job who corroborate sources all the time and they're getting all this feedback and they're, you know, updating these stories, breaking stories. They have such an incredibly tough job. For entertainment journalism, and I would lump kind-of games, movie journalism, celebrity Journalism, technology journalism into this blanket. A lot of it is about access, access that you have to products or people before they come out. So you have to avoid, when possible, antagonistic relationships with public relations people whenever possible. And when I say that, I'm not saying you don't report the truth, I'm not saying that you don't cover these products to the best of your ability. You absolutely do that 100% of the time, but you also want to work with these people as best you can to bring people information that they need. So a great example of this is, um, when the Xbox OneX came out, that was like the really high powered Xbox system. The people at the Digital Foundry, which is a publication, worked really closely with the Microsoft team to run a specs analysis. So they gave these, this publications exclusive specs ahead of time. They had access, they were clearly, you know, very close to that PR team, but more importantly, they knew that was the audience that cares about it the most. Digital Foundry are the people that do frame rate testing on video game consoles. So, this is the audience that cares about it the most. So, that was good work by their PR team to identify an audience that cares the most. That was good work by the journalism team to be close enough to be considered for that opportunity. I think that is what we need to do more of is match, match publications to what they're suited for and then give those publications information that's not a one sheet and not the same 10 generic photos and oh, you said you wanted to talk about what I don't like.
Beck: Yeah, what do you not like Nick?
Nick: This is, yeah, this is the thing. I even like my notes about this. Like-
Beck: Oh, he has a journal, you guys.
Nick: I'm ready for this.
Beck: And with his pencil, mechanical pencil, lime green. Great. Let's go.
Nick: Uh, so we'll go with the phrase that I hate the most is: we'll get you everything you need. And this is like the most common PR phrase. Like you're saying goodbye at the end of an event. You say, “Oh, thank you for having me at this event. Can't wait to see the games, see the product, all the niceties.” Thank the director or the product manager for their time, be polite, that kind of stuff. But then the last thing that I usually hear from a PR person is: we'll get you everything you need. And on the surface, that sounds very reassuring. That sounds like, that sounds like, “Oh great. You have my back. Thank you,” but let me tell you what everything you need usually consists of. It consists of the same 10 photos that got sent to every single other publication. It consists of the same one sheet that was sent around to every single publication. It consists usually of a quote, an executive level quote, that does not necessarily apply to your publication or is exclusive to you that you're going to see pop up in a dozen articles because people don't want to reach out and get another quote because it's, you know, you've got to get the news up so quickly. I don't like that phrase because that's not everything I need, that's, that's not everything I need to do a good job. So what's better? So I don't want to criticize without offering a solution. What would be better is if you could say, here's a flash drive. It has 10 photos and a one sheet for you. This is, you know, the bare minimum of what you're going to need. If you need, you know, a comparison chart between our product and our competitors that you can embed in your articles that will give your readers more information, I can have one of those whipped up for you. If you need a deep dive interview with someone more technical than the people that were here today, I can get that for you. If you need more shots of the product itself, of a specific thing. Let's say, you know they want to focus on the touch capacitive part of a headphone. I'm looking at my Sony, uh, WH 1000X M3 headphones they're touch capacitive, you know, if I needed a detailed breakdown of how that technology works, having that sent over, that would make my job. That would be everything I need. So I want PR people, the ones that I work with, the ones I don't work with, to think more about what do journalists actually need? Is it just photos and a one sheet, can their job be boiled down to just that? And the answer is I don't think so.
Beck: No. I would say. By the way, if I may comment at our coffee shop here, you have your Sony headphones that have "not for sale" on the side. Assuming this cannot be purchased anywhere. Those are special ones just for you or at least at the public cannot have.
Nick: Yes. Yes.
Beck: Nice. Then no one takes them. I mean at least you know those are yours.
Nick: Yeah, that's true.
Beck: Not for sale.
Nick: Those aren't, yeah. Sony has been doing a really good job with their noise canceling headphones. They have been making tons of good stuff.
Beck: They look sharp. So, what's another thing that is a no go from PR people?
Nick: Yeah. I think the line between friendship and nicety is really tough for a lot of people. I think PR can sometimes come off as obsequious. They come off as like tripping over themselves. Like anything that anything you need, anything you need, like you and I were close, I'll get you anything. But that's false, that is a fault. That is not sincere. That's not authentic. They are there to do a job. I'm here to do my job. And I think what would be better is if they could say, “Here are the things that I think I could do for you that would be really helpful and applicable to you.” You know, you don't have to be my best friend. I'm not looking to be best friends with PR people. Over the years, I have become friends with PR people just after hanging out with them enough times and they've moved on to a different industry. So it's worked out, but most of the times I'm not there to be friends with PR people, but I try and be super nice and there's a difference between being nice and being best friends. Always be nice. You don't have to be best friends.
Beck: Do you ever have publicists say to you or just admit, hey, you know, I got a job here. You got a job. Can we just acknowledging the fact of what we're trying to do, what you’re trying to do, what I'm trying to do and let's just call a spade a spade?
Nick: Yeah. And this is really hard. There are some scenarios that I probably cannot talk about in the past. Um, that, you know, we've been asked to pull stories. We've been asked to hold off on stories. Probably the one story that I can talk about real quick, I broke a story in June of this year that Netflix was partnering up with Telltale Games, which is this video game developer. They make story-driven games. These two have a partnership and Telltale was going to bring Minecraft story mode, which is one of their hit games, to Netflix for one of their interactive experience titles. We broke that story and yeah, people on both sides said, “I wish you didn't publish this story. I wish you would have told us. I wish you would have given us a warning.” You know, at the end of the day though, that's, I'm sorry, but that's journalism. I mean that's my job, my job is to uncover information, to bring it to the public's attention and I don't want to cost anyone their job. I don't want to ruin things for anybody, but you know, if we have sources who come forward with information, we're going to use that information. And that's when the friendship thing really falls away. Everyone wants to be your friend until you have exclusive information you're not supposed to have, then all of a sudden you're not friends. So, you know, that's uh, that's the way it goes, I guess.
Beck: One question I like to ask people as the kind-of last one is, and we touched upon this a bit, what does the future of media look like?
Nick: Gosh, yeah, that's hard to predict, isn't it? I would love to go back in time and hear what they said 10 years ago for like digital magazines. Everyone's going to read digital mags. It's going to be great. I can make that joke heavy worked on a digital magazine and it going nowhere. I am allowed to make that joke. Um, yeah. What does the future look like? Probably more of bringing the community together with the developers and together with journalists. And I think some of the best examples of that right now are things like the PlayStation blog. For those people who don't know what that is, Sony has, they used to have an internal blog where they would just publish the most pertinent need to know information. It would just be like, hey, we're going to release a PlayStation 4, here's a product page on it. But the PlayStation blog is really an evolution of that. They get developers to come in and they will talk about the game they're working on. Um, the community feels really integrated because they feel like they have a direct line to these developers now, but it's all still moderated by editorial, like there's still a content strategy plan that goes into this. And that's, I think, one possible future, that will work for technology and games journalism. I don't know if that's, that's a thing that would work in other fields necessarily. I mean, I think it does in some ways when you see an Op-Ed in the Times, right? And then someone will have a counter Op-Ed a few days later. You know you'll get to see both sides of the story that way. But for technology journalism, entertainment journalism, I think you could have more instantaneous of blending between those communities and sharing and making sure we're all on the same level. Because I think the readers can sometimes feel like they don't have a voice, they don't have a say in this. And I think, good gosh, there's this thing called GamerGate, which was an absolute nightmare scenario a few years ago, but one of their big complaints was that they felt like they didn't have as much say in the community anymore. The people that were consuming the content didn't have as much voice. So finding a way to empower the people in the community to have a say, to sometimes give them a direct line to developers when they need it, but still have editorial curation so it's not just a mess of 200 articles going up a day and you can't find anything and it's all dull, irrelevant content. So it's, I think all three of those communities need to come together and that's one future that I see.
Beck: Well, Nick Pino, thank you for joining us today on Coffee With A Journalist in our little coffee shop.
Nick: You're welcome.
Jered: Thanks for listening to this week’s to Coffee With A Journalist featuring Nick Pino from TechRadar. If you're a journalist who loves coffee or a publicist who loves this podcast, we'd love to hear from you. Head to OnePitch.co to drop us a line. Until then, let's end bad pitches and start great stories.
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