Scoops are important to journalists. But do readers care? Some writers persist in thinking so. I can't remember ever seeing such backbiting over a humdrum funding announcement: Kara Swisher of AllThingsD scooped everyone last Friday with a rumor that Slide, Max Levchin's Web widget maker, was raising a big funding round. Sarah Lacy of BusinessWeek had more details of the $50 million round in an already-written column published to the Web after Swisher's post. Brad Stone of the New York Times weighed in that afternoon. And that's when the knives came out.
New York Times tech writers are confused, or at least a little bit lazy. Over Christmas Eve they posted to the Bits blog a post titled, "Questions We Thought, But Didn't Ask, in 2007." Then, "A Few More Questions" And then, "More Questions." Reading them, it's clear that coming up with questions required no reporting, little research and maybe five minutes. Why didn't we think of that? One very special correspondent could have actually seen his wife over Christmas. Here are their top three questions — and our helpfully provided answers.
The Q&A session at the Computer History Museum last night was billed as a talk between former Apple evangelist turned venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki and former anonymous blogger turned book shill Dan Lyons, better known as Fake Steve Jobs. But it quickly turned into a sordid three-way. Brad Stone, the New York Times scribe who outed Lyons as Fake Steve joined the two on stage, and what was billed as the "Confessions of Fake Steve Jobs" turned into a celebration of Apple, blogging, and Dan Lyons's massive mancrush on the real Steve Jobs.
Last night, when Brad Stone and Miguel Helft got the scoop about Google's OpenSocial program, they included a quote from Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li. You can still find the quote using Google's search engine, but it's gone from the text of the story, and we can't find any cached version. Why? Perhaps it was cut for space in the final print version. That strikes me as curious, since space considerations don't apply to the Web, where the full version could have easily remained. More intriguing is the whispers that an unduly loquacious Li might have played a role in the New York Times getting the scoop. We're stumped. Anyone have an answer?
New York Times writer Brad Stone was on the phone with a pair of Comcast execs and experienced some technical difficulties. First, he was disconnected suddenly. Then, two minutes after calling back, the call was interrupted and Stone was inexplicably connected to the wife of another Comcast employee, who was trying to call her husband at work. After
sitting in silence talking nonstop for 15 minutes, figuring the lack of response was just the Stone-cold Timesman's attempt to make them sweat, the Comcasters called him back and lamely theorized that maintenance was being performed on their phone system. This must be part of the "best broadband experience" that Comcast works so hard to provide. [Bits]
Ever since studly Timesman Brad Stone outed Forbes editor Dan Lyons as Fake Steve Jobs, the author of the faux-Apple CEO Web diary, I've been waiting to see what happens when Lyons meets up with some of the folks he's savaged as the blog's anonymous auteur. I'll get my first chance when Lyons gets interviewed by former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki, who's been repeatedly ridiculed by Lyons as Fake Steve. But why would Kawasaki display any hard feelings when he can use the notoriety of a feud to elevate his rapidly sinking profile? Dignity doesn't move units. The interview, sponsored by LinkedIn, takes place November 6 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. (Photos by hyku)
Brad Stone of the New York Times has picked up, belatedly, that the Industry Standard, the fast-falling standard-bearer magazine of the dotcom boom, will be reborn as an online-only publication. A source tells us that IDG, the publisher of the new Standard, had pegged a relaunch date in less than a week. One small problem: As Stone points out, IDG has yet to hire an editor-in-chief. In fact, we hear that the initial plan for the website didn't even include a top editor. [Bits]
Fake Brad Stone is doing a passable job of celebrating the career of the ruggedly handsome New York Times reporter who outed Fake Steve Jobs. Passable. I mean, I like the idea of supplanting the Pulitzer Prize with a new "Stoney" award. But Fake Brad could do so much more. He could, for example, burst into song. With apologies to George Thorogood — and, while I'm at it, to Brad Stone, Fake Brad Stone, and my readers — Valleywag presents a rock-and-roll celebration of our favorite Timesman. Here are the lyrics to "Brad to the Stone":
On air yesterday, CNBC anchor Melissa Francis told Dan Lyons, the Forbes editor recently revealed as Fake Steve Jobs, that he deserved a raise. Lyons nervously concurred. Nervously, because he still hasn't concluded fraught negotiations with his employer on how much Forbes will pay to bring his blog, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, on board when Brad Stone of the New York Times outed him as the author. But no matter. "We've already established what you are, ma'am," I can imagine Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard telling Lyons. "Now we're just haggling over the price."
My musing on why it took Forbes so long to reach a deal with its own editor, Dan Lyons, to bring his Secret Diary of Steve Jobs to Forbes.com, raised a question in my mind: How do we know the outing of Fake Steve Jobs wasn't an inside job? There's one very close link: Damon Darlin, the recently appointed technology editor at the Times who edited the story, used to work at Forbes. I have the utmost respect for the reporting skills of Brad Stone, the Times reporter who broke the story, and believe he discovered Lyons on his own, the old-fashioned way, through hard work and shoe-leather reporting. But is it possible Forbes insiders, to create buzz for both Lyons's forthcoming Fake Steve book, Options, and the arrival of his blog on Forbes.com, fed the Times just enough tidbits to help Stone land the scoop — or, at the very least, decided to play along once they learned he was on the hunt?
It was just a matter of time. Brad Stone, the ruggedly handsome New York Times reporter who outed Forbes editor Dan "She-Lion" Lyons as Fake Steve Jobs, now has his own fake blog. "I am the best journalist ever," the Stone impersonator writes. Funny because it's true. Brad, I hope you're honored. At the very least, this should remove any lingering questions you had on whether you deserve A-list blogger status. And the "childish sense of wonderment"? None of that for the She-Lion. It's all for you, baby, all for you.
A year ago, Rich Karlgaard, the publisher of Forbes, promised "the most expensive iPod" to the first person to identify Fake Steve Jobs. It took Brad Stone of the New York Times a year — or an afternoon, depending on how you look at it — but he's now in a position to collect. (We're deeming Karlgaard's prize to be a $599, 8GB iPhone, since the real Steve Jobs likes to tout it as "the best iPod ever.") Stone, of course, unmasked Karlgaard's own employee, Dan Lyons, as the writer of the faux Apple CEO blog. One small hitch in calling Karlgaard to account, however: I doubt Times ethics policies would allow Stone to accept the reward. Update: Karlgaard apparently reads Valleywag. He now proposes that he auction off a $599 iPhone in Stone's honor instead.
The jig is up, the secret is out, the game is over: Forbes editor Dan Lyons is Fake Steve Jobs, the now-unmasked author of The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs. Brad Stone of the New York Times, to my dismay, was the one to out Lyons as the faux Apple CEO. It was crushing. I've known for some time now that several Forbes employees were in on the secret. Lyons, as Fake Steve, even hinted at the outing in a post today: "My world, anyway, is about to change." My apologies to readers. But it makes perfect sense. Here are the not-so-coincidental similarities between Lyons's chosen enemies and Fake Steve's.
I never intended for the blogger-baby story, which began with the birth of Ollie Kottke to A-list bloggers Jason Kottke and Meg Hourihan, to become quite such a saga, but news has a way of happening. Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield are no longer expecting a baby — they have a daughter, Sonnet Beatrice Butterfield, according to fellow Yahoo executive Bradley Horowitz. Here's the rundown on the rest of the couples mentioned in yesterday's baby poll, which — well done, readers — you guessed correctly.
Last week, the birth of a son (and future blogger) to Jason Kottke and Meg Hourihan reminded us of another famous Web personality who
triedhad a colleague try, bizarrely, to claim that the mom-to-be's pregnancy was "off the record." (Memo to other would-be secret-keepers: "Off the record" is always a matter of mutual agreement between reporter and source, not something you can declare unilaterally.) We asked for guesses on who it was, and you had lots of good ones. Now it's time to vote, picking out the baby-hiders from among these glamorous A-list bloggers. Pictures of the people you've speculated about, and a poll, after the jump.