In defense of Mark Gurman

Now I feel bad.

I took some heat last week for critiquing a fellow reporter.

  • “What a dick thing to write,” tweeted the New York Times’ Mike Isaac.
  • Utter stupidity,” wrote Daisuke Wakabayashi of the Wall Street Journal. “Haters gotta hate.”
  • “The most offensive part of this drivel is that someone has the gall to normally charge for it,” Josh Dickson, founder of onecast.fm, chimed in.

Ouch.

What they’re tweeting about is a story I wrote about a young journalist named Mark Gurman—a piece I should probably disavow, but which I now feel I obliged to defend.

As I tried to explain to Mark—and as I wrote a subscriber who told me the column was in poor taste—it was aimed not at Gurman but at his editors:

“I guess I wasn’t clear. As a long-time Mark Gurman fan, as a writer who for years was rewritten from top to bottom, as an editor who did his share of rewrites, but always tried to protect the writer’s unique voice, my sympathies are with Mark.”

But I owe Gurman an apology. He’s just out of college. He’s just started his first corporate job. He’s in the middle of difficult adjustment—from a scrappy website (9to5Mac) to a business news operation with 19,000 employees and a procrustean house style.

What he needed was my best wishes, not my snark.

See also:

UPDATE: Gurman’s new gig came up in Episode 164 of the Talk Show with John Gruber, where he and Six Colors‘ Jason Snell opined that Bloomberg’s inflexible rules for attributing anonymous sources actually made Gurman’s reporting more useful.

11 Comments

  1. John Blackburn said:

    It was obvious you were commenting on Mark’s editors and not Mark himself. Could you have written the piece more sympathetically? Sure. But anyone mistaking the focus of your article either read your piece too cursorily or was in attack mode themselves.

    2
    August 14, 2016
  2. John Kirk said:

    It was very clear to me that your article was NOT criticizing Mark and that you were wondering, out loud, whether his new employer’s more staid business practices might have a negative effect on his reporting.

    2
    August 14, 2016
  3. William Kortum said:

    Another Mark – Mark Twain – satirized this version of journalist speak more than a hundred years ago in a social column he wrote for a western frontier newspaper when he was a young reporter. As I recollect, the column started “Mrs Smith and seven alleged ladies held what they claimed was a card party on Wednesday night….” It would be nice – but probably too much to expect – if investment banks held their analysts to statements that could be documented.

    1
    August 14, 2016
  4. Jonathan Mackenzie said:

    Funny that all of the readers of Apple 3.0 (presumably those who are gullible enough to pay for PED’s content) so far are reporting that they understood what they were reading.

    Here’s the way I see it. I read that Bloomberg article. I thought it was basically terrible. Like a lot of folks, I scan a number of articles about Apple each day and this one struck me as pretty clunky. I’m not sure I would have noticed on my own that what made it so hard to read was all of the editorial disclaimers that PED pointed out (and took issue with). So while some reporters could call it dickish or just hating, I think the truth was closer to it being about Apple (with an angle on journalism) by someone who has long been interested in the craft.

    And if being “made into Bloomberger” qualifies as harsh criticism to these writers, they may want to start reading their own comment sections sometime.

    The internet has spawned all these odd equivalences… Whopping lies and simple mischaracterizations get lumped together as “untruths”, and criticism of any kind is often lumped in with trolling.

    Social media has given us many things, but it seems to have stripped away a lot of grey-shades from our thinking, at least so far. It would be nice to see reason and civility play a greater role. Everyone is ready to attack others for even the most basic criticism or perceived slight.

    And if Josh Dickson wants to discuss offensive drivel, he need look no further than his own contribution to this discussion. Why must he comment in a way that disparages not just PED (for having the gall to charge for his content) but by extension all those who pay for it, since they’re obviously just dupes or rubes? I’ll tell you why, it’s because you’re not relevant in social media unless you are involved in some outrage or scandal. Intelligent discourse doesn’t really garner interest. Slamming others (accusing them ironically enough of the crime of slamming someone else) is the clickbait of social media. It draws attention to you and your brand.

    To that end, Apple 3.0 has gotten some more attention as well. Should PED consider controversy as a business strategy? Or maybe he could go about his business and wait for the inevitable offense someone will take to what he has said.

    3
    August 14, 2016
    • Richard Wanderman said:

      “Should PED consider controversy as a business strategy?”

      That would be called a “Dvorak”

      1
      August 14, 2016
  5. George Knott said:

    I totally understood what Philip was writing about….It’s corporate news being filtered to the point that there isn’t a whole lot meat left in the breaking news item/leak, whatever you want to call it. Reminds me of how HR depts filter their corporate statement when they lay off thousands of US senior employees while hiring thousand more offshore at the same time….same work just a helluva lot cheaper but you won’t find the real truth in the “official corporate” statement. Time will tell if Mark can be the go to guy for breaking apple news/leaks but I don’t have high expectations.

    0
    August 14, 2016
  6. Fred Stein said:

    In defense of Phillip, Mark, and Bloomberg:
    All three are in the news business. We, the audience expect real information and fresh insights daily. Reality does not conform. Bloomberg gave Mark an “enterprise grade” platform. Like enterprise grade software, Bloomberg comes with compliance features.
    We can view this like most giant software companies’ acquihires of scrappy startups. In that light, APPLE 3.0’s cautionary note makes sense.

    0
    August 15, 2016

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