A Conversation with New York Times Technology Editor Damon Darlin 5

Damon Darlin recently visited the Racepoint Group to share some thoughts about what it’s like to be technology editor of one of the most influential newspapers in the country and now the fifth most-popular online news destination.

While the New York Times like most major news organizations grapple with the ever-changing media environment, its early investment in online news is helping to keep its leadership position and enables the technology reporting team to “tell better stories.” According to Darlin, surprisingly many people still have a narrow and outdated view, thinking of the New York Times in only one dimension as a daily newspaper – a missed opportunity for companies that can now be featured in one of the publication’s many blogs, videos, online features and podcasts.

 Given the influence and high credibility of the New York Times, reporters also have the added burden of ensuring their coverage does not appear to endorse or validate the companies they cover. This makes it sometimes challenging for start-ups and smaller companies, but Darlin confirms that they are still interested in great storytelling and that smaller companies should not be discouraged, especially if they have an offering that is truly game-changing and innovative.

 Darlin also offered some key words of advice for technology companies targeting media coverage in the New York Times:

  • Relationships continue to be important, now more than ever. With reporters receiving 200+ emails a day from eager PR reps and companies looking to attract coverage, and more distractions with social networking tools, it’s critical to have trusted sources with a reliable track record. 
  • Company spokespeople need to share a vision and tell a compelling story. Technology spokespeople, in particular, have a habit of just focusing on the product or marketing plan and would be better-served by telling the reporter what’s going to change as a result of their offering.
  • Background briefings, while sometimes more difficult due to time constraints, are still helpful – especially if you have a market expert who is “plugged-in” to an industry.
  • Think beyond the story. With multimedia options now available via the online news site, there are more angles and visual opportunities to enrich a perspective.

While Darlin leaves the frequent tweets to the reporting staff, you can follow him @ddarlin.

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