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Inquirer/Register:Whats with these British papers?

http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=17382

Whom are they owned by?.

Some of their punches are really . A few of them quite stale. But why are they so anti-microsoft?. Any real reasons?.  You can understand about linux cowboys wanting to overthrow microsoft. But why does a newspaper feel the need to be so pro-linux?

Here is one example.

---------------------------------------------------------------
A MAN  has claimed that the Microsoft browser is the best browser in the world.

Scott Stearns, IE Test Manager at Microsoft makes the astonishing claim on the IE Blog.

Stearns says: "I really love browsing with IE".

He continues: "I realize that statement will cause some people to chuckle based on current press on security issues and perceived lack of innovation, but that is my job".

Isn't it our job to make people chuckle, Scott?

Karthik
Saturday, July 24, 2004

Some of their punches are really good---> Thats the complete sentence

Karthik
Saturday, July 24, 2004

Perhaps their writers just dont like MS for their own personal reasons. MS has been known to have that effect on people so I dont think a conspiracy theory is required.

Eric Debois
Saturday, July 24, 2004

What do you expect from a "paper" whose tagline is "News, Reviews, Facts, and Friction" ???

www.MarkTAW.com
Saturday, July 24, 2004

And has a "Flame Editor" link on every page.

www.MarkTAW.com
Saturday, July 24, 2004

Maybe you just don't get British Humor. They had to do something to get back at America for inventing Slashdot.

www.MarkTAW.com
Saturday, July 24, 2004

Another useless post.

www.MarkTAW.com
Saturday, July 24, 2004

I think you'll find there's the odd sarcastic dig at linux obsessives in there too ;-)

Matt
Saturday, July 24, 2004

Answer: they aren't newspapers, they're websites.  You might as well ask why the Onion never prints anything serious...

Iago
Saturday, July 24, 2004

There's your answer. They're not professional papers with journalists who worry about facts, accuracy and balance.

tree
Saturday, July 24, 2004

"Answer: they aren't newspapers, they're websites.  You might as well ask why the Onion never prints anything serious..."

The Onion is an actual paper, and they do print serious articles. So much for that analogy! :)

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Saturday, July 24, 2004

Serious news, like:

"Denny's introduces "Just a Humongous Bucket of Eggs and Meat"? or "Tenth Circle Added to Rapidly Growing Hell"?

Yes, the Onion is my choice for information in a confusing world...

Bored Bystander
Saturday, July 24, 2004

As an example:

http://www.theonionavclub.com/

There's one of these in every issue.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Saturday, July 24, 2004

There is a long British tradition in this respect. "Private Eye" is the best known. And "Private Eye" was the first paper to publish many of the British corruption scandals of the seventies and eighties.

One reason for the sarcasm and irony is British libel law. Being satirical gives you some degree of protection.

"The Inquirier" was founded by one of the founders of "The Register". Most consider it to be slightly more reliable. "The Register" has certainly gone down since the split.

"The Register" is no more anti-MS than it is anti-IBM or anti-Intel ("Chipzilla").

Stephen Jones
Sunday, July 25, 2004

The Reg doesn't really have one editorial voice - it has several. Each of the major reporters has a bias and an agenda, and is not usually too worried about keeping it out of articles.

None of them are particularly pro-Microsoft, but only one or two of them are really emphatically anti-MS and pro-Linux; indeed, since half the regulars defected to The Inquirer, The Reg has become somewhat less vitriolic.

I used to be a tech journalist back in the day, and I know most of the Reg staffers (particularly the longer-standing ones). One thing that's as true today as it was then is that British tech journalism does not take itself seriously the way that US tech journalism does. This is probably because most of the UK journos came out of the hobbyist/microcomputing background and have weird ideas about community; most are trained techies and not trained journalists. My experience is that many (although not all) US tech journos think of themselves as real journalists in the mould of those you'd find writing for the New York Times.

One incident I recall with particular amusement is when Microsoft UK paid to ship about 25 UK tech journos (myself and at least one of The Reg's current writers included) to Seattle for the launch of Visual Studio 97. There was one big product launch press conference with UK and US journalists asking questions. Many pointed questions where asked by the UK contingent about the product's failings and omissions (such as the still-as-yet unrectified tendency for the HTML editor to reformat your code without asking). The US journos looked on, horrified, as we refused to ask the 'right' questions and write down the soundbites that emerged. The speakers (most of them fairly serious big shots at MS these days) were distinctly nonplussed, and ended up refusing to answer our questions and insisting we had to tackle them 'offline'. In other words, we had derailed a carefully planned spectacle in which the US journalists were, seemingly, happy to participate. After the briefing, I was asked several times why we Brits found it necessary to be 'rude' to the 'important' people from Microsoft.

Needless to say, the next time an event of this type occurred, there were separate press conferences for US and UK press, with specially briefed speakers from Microsoft who had been told all about us 'difficult' Brits.

Simply put, the UK and the US - in the tech space at least - have fundamentally different journalistic traditions, and while The Reg is certainly a little 'out there' and the Inquirer is definitely 'way out there', it's definitely a feature and not a bug.

Neil Hewitt
Sunday, July 25, 2004

Neil, that's extremely interesting. Thanks. If it really went down as you say, then it is you guys that are the real journalists and the eweek people who are the talentless devotees to yellow journalism.

Dennis Atkins
Sunday, July 25, 2004

Thanks Neil. That was a fascinating post !.

Karthik
Sunday, July 25, 2004

I don't think this is limited to tech journalism. Do you think a difficult reporter will get invited back to the White House?

www.MarkTAW.com
Sunday, July 25, 2004

I'm a former journalist too. There is another way of interpreting what Neil describes. It is likely that in the late 90's the US tech media were more familiar with the important directions in software development.

Visual Studio 97 was an important release and lots of readers were interested in knowing what it was about, not just about the problems. Industry execs also wanted this information, because it affects how well the product will do, and what effect it will have in the market.

As history has shown, quibbles with Visual Studio 97 were pretty much irrelevant. The product went from strength to strength and captured whole new swatches of developer users. I would say the US journalists provided the better coverage.

Also, to this day, UK tech media often take their leads and stories from the US tech media.

The other side
Sunday, July 25, 2004

Mark - over here one of our most famous BBC journalists a guy called Jeremy Paxman* once asked a government minister the same question 14 times  - and his career florished.  It really is a matter of different traditions. 

*Supposedly he asks himself  ‘why is this lying bastard lying to me’

a cynic writes...
Sunday, July 25, 2004

If you have read any 'kiss and tell' books on the tech industry (Start-Up by Jerry Kaplan, Burn Rate by Woolf are two that spring to mind) and contrast what the books say about what was going on with what the tech media were saying at the time, the disconnect is amazing.
Time and again technology that was essentially vaporware or a 'strapped chicken' was given a serious write up.

This is a serious business, I have seen decisions made that I would say ultimately lead to loss of jobs due to credulous reporting.

Hopefully, now there are serious investigative news sites like the Reg and The Inquirer, people will be able to get away with this much less.

Harvey Pengwyn
Monday, July 26, 2004

- anything for a hit: the Reg/Inquirer have an anti-MS play and have to dish up what their audience expects.
- Don't underestimate the "lost empire / surpressed supremacy" feeling of the Brits, especially wrt current world powers. MS is american and successfull, so it would definetly be high on the target list.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, July 26, 2004

mmm...if you really think that it's all about anti-Americanism I suggest you get a copy of Private Eye & compare the style.  Referring to Microsoft as "the Vole" doesn't appear a great deal different to referring to the Queen as "Brenda". 

In fact at the Inq, apart from a jokey list of websites that Intel might wish to sue (following publication of correspondence between its lawyers and some private detectives) the UK government seems to be the only one really getting a kicking.

Meanwhile, the Register  the main controversy seems to be not including enough choices in their readers music survey and that last week they took the piss out of wikipedia. 

What imperialist bastards...

a cynic writes...
Monday, July 26, 2004

"I'm a former journalist too. There is another way of interpreting what Neil describes. It is likely that in the late 90's the US tech media were more familiar with the important directions in software development. "

I don't want to give the impression that all US journalists want to suck up to their corporate masters and be good little boys - that'd be very far from the truth. But there does seem to be an unspoken attitude that senior MS execs and the like are automatically due some kind of Hollywood-style awe. The fawning whenever Bill Gates deigned to speak to we mere journalists was something to see.

The UK tech journalists were - and still are, on the whole - a grizzled, veteran bunch, and have seen it all and are impressed by very little, especially not buzzwords and platitudes. The US has some very similar characters - J.D. Hildebrand, Jeff Dunteman, Jon Erikson, Al Williams, most of the DDJ crowd, in fact - and they can always be relied upon to cut through the spin with questions that their readers genuinely want answered.

"Visual Studio 97 was an important release and lots of readers were interested in knowing what it was about, not just about the problems. Industry execs also wanted this information, because it affects how well the product will do, and what effect it will have in the market.

As history has shown, quibbles with Visual Studio 97 were pretty much irrelevant. The product went from strength to strength and captured whole new swatches of developer users. I would say the US journalists provided the better coverage.

Also, to this day, UK tech media often take their leads and stories from the US tech media. "

Indeed - we gave VS97 a good review (with caveats), and devoted a 12-page special to VS6 when it came out. Microsoft tools are always important products, and always worthy of proper consideration. We never refused to pick nits, though, because beyond the first few shiny weeks it's the little annoyances that most characterise your experience with any product.

To be honest, I don't think magazines really do the review thing well any more - at least, not in the development space. The Web is replacing traditional print (one of the reasons I got out when I did).

It was always fun to watch VPs and CEOs crumble before the collected question-asking force of the UK tech press, though :-)

Neil Hewitt
Monday, July 26, 2004

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