Six-Pack: The Tech Writer’s Toolkit
If you’re an aspiring tech writer, odds are high that you’re already savvy about computers and consumer electronics. Freelance technology writers generally know, for example, that a mobile platform has nothing to do with women’s shoes, that “Opera” isn’t always a place you go to hear a talented soprano sing an aria, and that “Halo” isn’t just something angels wear on their heads.
Your audience, however, may not know as much as you do, so if you want to write articles or blogs to educate your readers about these topics, you’ll need to rely on solid online resources that provide current and accurate reporting about tech news, trends, and product reviews and pricing. Below are six of the best. All of them provide up-to-the-minute tech news updates, reviews and general information, but each has a specialized focus that differentiates it from the others.
CNet’s orientation is showing consumers “how technology can enrich and enhance your life.” It offers awards to outstanding tech products and services, and its ratings and reviews are well-respected in the industry. Readers can download software, write their own reviews, read how-to guides, and plug into podcasts.
Wired.com is the digital sister publication of Condé Nast’s print magazine, Wired. The two periodically collaborate on features, but each has its own distinct personality. Wired.com is renowned for its thoughtful articles on the intersection of technology, science and culture.
Just as its name implies, Engadget is focused on specific consumer devices. You can browse this site via different product categories, such as “Amazon Kindle” or “Windows Phones.” The heavy emphasis on consumer electronics makes Engadget’s gift guides and reviews especially useful resources.
Gizmodo’s writers and editors blog about consumer product news and reviews for cell phones, video game consoles, e-readers, peripherals like external hard disk drives, and the like. Gizmodo’s dedicated team of writers bravely and unapologetically report hard news. You may recall that in 2010, a Gizmodo reporter acquired an iPhone 4 prototype from a man who claimed to have found it in a bar. Gizmodo ultimately returned the phone to Apple, but first earned the corporation’s undisguised enmity by writing at length about the prototype’s features.
Slashdot covers many of the same areas as other major tech sites, but offers something very unique: a focus on open source-related topics and Linux. These areas are often under-reported by major, consumer-oriented tech sites, but are a must-have for the emerging freelance technology writer who needs to connect with a more sophisticated audience.
If your tech writing is geared toward the topical, or if you’re writing a lot of Tweets and blog posts, then Digg is for you. Digg compiles stories based on the interest level of its community of users. If a story makes the front page of Digg, it’s big news. In addition to straight tech news, Digg also publishes stories about science, politics and culture from a tech perspective.
Amy C is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.