Qwoted is committed to exploring the current state of the media by speaking to industry leaders and educating future generations of media professionals. What has social media and technological innovation brought to the table? What can we expect for the future of journalism?
As a student at Georgetown, Rob Pegoraro wrote for the Georgetown Voice, one of two student papers on campus. He went on to secure a role as a copy aide at The Washington Post. As the need for online coverage increased, Pegoraro served as a Consumer Technology columnist for the Post for over a decade. His work has been featured in Yahoo Tech and Yahoo Finance, as well as Fast Company, USA Today, PCMag, Forbes, and TechCrunch.
Which aspects of your work do you find the most rewarding?
RP: When I can take a look at a confusing area of technology and explain to readers what’s going on and why things seem broken (the chance to call out abuse of power gets me out of bed every morning) and what they can do to fix or workaround it.
What do you see as some of journalism’s biggest potential pitfalls?
RP: The biggest pitfall is the revenue problem. The programmatic model of online advertising consistently leaves readers stuck with tacky ads (some outright scams) while leaving too little money for publishers after various intermediaries take their cut. It’s difficult to coax readers into signing up for subscriptions, and paywalled publications still haven’t figured out how to welcome the occasional reader.
What are you hearing from your fellow Fourth Estate members about their hopes and concerns for the profession?
RP: I’m hearing both real and understandable concern about the economic viability of the business and a determination to press on–and to use new tools to report and tell stories. That sense of mission and creativity gives me a little hope.
Social media has upended the traditional media landscape. One of the great challenges it creates is authenticity and malevolent actors. How do think journalists and reporters should deal with the rising tide of misinformation?
Apply the same skepticism we should know to bring to offline sources, and teach readers how to spot frauds.
Technology has vastly eased our distribution problem and given us immensely valuable reporting and story-telling tools, but social networks have left themselves wide open to propaganda mills masquerading as journalism while the online ad industry has ripped off news sites and served up schlock to our audiences.