ConnectThe2 Podcast Season 6: Ep 7 - Brian Heater, TechCrunch
Brian Heater is the Hardware Editor at TechCrunch. His writing has appeared in popular publications like Engadget, PCMag, Playboy, Wired and Entertainment Weekly. He joins ConnectThe2 to discuss his podcast RIYL, how he got his start in journalism and why he started a weekly newsletter in the middle of a pandemic.
If you like what you’re reading, be sure to listen to the entire episode linked at the bottom of this page.
Labor unions and robotics… Brian writes reviews on a wide variety of technologies as hardware editor for TechCrunch, but the stories that have piqued his interest the most lately involve human stories.
“One of the things I’ve been interested in following lately that I’ve done a fair number of stories on for TechCrunch is Amazon unionization efforts in Bessemer, Alabama. Unionization generally and labor when it comes to both blue-collar and white-collar workers is going to be a massive story in this industry moving forward.”
Brian also covers robotics for TechCrunch, reporting on the benefits that robotics and automation offer to the workforce and the greater industry. However, he did point out that he was aware these topics are very much in conflict with each other too.
“I think there is potential for robotics to ease some of the burden of labor and to take these dangerous jobs that companies have problems staffing, but at the end of the day as these things become more advanced you do risk companies having even more wide-scale layoffs and replacing human workers with robots.”
Writing style… Brian’s writing style and approach to writing has changed over the years, but he also observed that the journalism industry’s way of producing content changed over time. He witnessed the rise and fall of blogging. It was when he joined PCMag, that he found he was good at blogging and getting content up as soon as possible.
“There’s no filter between you and the audience for better or for worse and it’s something that I think has changed the industry more broadly. This is the result of technology and the changing times, but it's also because there have been some large-scale reductions of headcounts. This is something that everybody has had to adapt to some degree. The vast majority of articles you read online are not going through five or six editors like they would have 10 or 15 years ago.”
Brian might be a fan of baseball, but don’t pitch him a curveball… Brian gets dozens of pitches daily from PR professionals, but what is the key to making yours stand out from the crowd? At the end of the day, Brian cares about the content and he wants an interesting story.
“Because I’ve been doing this for so long, I’m averse to the different angles and niceties. Online stalking is very much something that goes in line with some of these pitches to the point that it gets a little bit uncomfortable when people read your Twitter feed to find out personal information to pitch you something. It’s absolutely the wrong direction. I do read every single email that comes through, and I assess all of them based on whether or not I think it would be a good story for us.”
If you've enjoyed these takeaways be sure to listen to our full interview, linked below. Also, be sure to list to, rate and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, iHeartRadio or Soundcloud.