Friday, 21 December 2012

End of an era, for me at least

Today is my last day as a ZDNet UK reporter. I have written for the site for six and a half years.

In May 2006, I was but a budding journalist. I had not intended to become a tech writer specifically – I enjoyed researching gadgets thoroughly before I bought them, but that was mainly because I don't like to waste money. The ZDNet UK mobile reporter gig, as it was at the time, was just the job I ended up getting.

Being a tech journalist is now a defining thing for me, and that's largely because ZDNet UK and the people who staffed it filled me with enthusiasm for the subject. I was terrifically lucky to be mentored by the likes of Graeme Wearden (who has since hived off down the business path), Karen Friar and of course the endlessly knowledgeable and entertaining Rupert Goodwins. Not only did they love the subject material, but they taught me to dig, question and explain.

It was great fun, and I was proud to be part of a publication of record, a publication that insisted on the highest standards of accuracy and objectivity. I feel extraordinarily lucky to have had that experience, as I am all too aware that many of those coming into journalism today will never know the feeling of trying to responsibly write history's first draft, as opposed to merely chasing ephemeral hits.

A year and a half ago, I moved from London to Berlin. No longer able to stay on as a ZDNet UK staffer, I continued to write for the publication in the mornings on a freelance basis. Then, in February of this year, I started writing for GigaOM about the Berlin startup scene. Again, a publication that tries to get things right and to explain not for the sake of empty provocation, but for education and understanding. Over time, my beat there evolved – I now cover cloud, mobile and data-related subjects across the whole of Europe.

And so, on the morning of the Winter Solstice (and yes, also Mayan non-Apocalypse Day), I find myself having written my last piece for ZDNet UK. From the start of January, I will be going full-time with GigaOM, and proudly so. I look forward to learning new things, meeting new people and gaining fresh perspectives. Most of all, I look forward to continuing down the path that materialised in front of me six and a half years ago.

Yet again, onwards!