What Topics Should the ‘Tech We’re Using’ Column Tackle Next?
The Reader Center is one way we in the newsroom are trying to connect with you, by highlighting your perspectives and experiences and offering insight into how we work.
There’s an app for that, but I’m not sure anyone cares anymore. That thought was stuck in my head when I pitched the idea for Tech We’re Using, a column about how New York Times journalists use tech in their jobs and personal lives.
Over the last decade, smartphones have become the center of how we consume and create media. Apps used to be a novelty; there was a period of time when smartphones were young and we were excited about finding new apps to download.
But by now, there are millions of apps for smartphones, and people have found and settled on the tools that are the most useful to them. So what are people doing with tech now that it’s become such a personalized commodity tailored to their lives?
My editor and I decided to invite members of The New York Times from every corner of the newsroom to riff about the tech they are passionate about. Since starting the feature last year, we’ve published roughly 50 pieces. The responses are a window into a diverse staff that goes well beyond our bustling newsroom in Manhattan.
I’ve loved reading about how our restaurant critic, who tries to stay unrecognized in restaurants, blends in with other diners by snapping photos of his food just like everyone else does in the Instagram era. I found it incredibly useful for readers to hear what our Frugal Traveler columnist packs when he travels on a budget.
Especially insightful is when Times staff members talk about how tech has changed the industries or topics they cover; if I had to pick a favorite, our Modern Love editor’s thoughts about how tech has transformed dating and romance was a treat on Valentine’s Day.
And sometimes, it’s just plain interesting to hear that our India correspondent relies on air purifiers to endure the pollution in Mumbai, or that our Japan correspondent has to send interview requests with a fax machine.
After doing many of these interviews, my takeaway is that the smartphone and computer are still the most vital tools for people to do work.
In none of these interviews was there ever a hint that the tablet would replace the personal computer for doing serious work, like Apple and others have predicted. Maybe that will happen someday, but it doesn’t appear that it will anytime soon.
Having done these interviews for a while now, I’m eager to hear from readers what else they would like to learn about our staff. What do you like about the column, and what could be better? And do you have any requests for people we have not featured yet? We’re all ears.
Follow the Reader Center on Twitter: @ReaderCenter.
A note to readers who are not subscribers: This article from the Reader Center does not count toward your monthly free article limit.