We are proud to present the following Top Tech Journalists, who were selected based on their leadership and vital contributions to their publications, their readers, and the broader business and high-technology communities. Nominations are based not only on the prestige of the publication, but on the contributions the individual has made to ensuring ethics, leadership, and transparency in journalism.
While much of what is considered news involves coverage of consumer products, based on page views and clicks, it is increasingly important that we, as a society, understand where technology is taking us. It is not only the applications that we use but also how they change the lives of the people that use them. As we look forward to a new decade, which is sure to bring revolutionary changes in technology, business, and media, we honor the work of journalists, writers, editors, and media influencers who informed, inspired and improved our understanding of the ever-changing world of technology.
The Top Tech Journalists Awards represents excellence in investigative reporting, journalism, and digital storytelling. It celebrates reporters who, using journalistic rigor and focused storytelling, entertain, educate, and provide an essential public service. Always aware of breaking news and game-changing innovation at a time where there is such distrust of media, these highly regarded journalists are building bridges and stimulating high standards of ethical behavior while encouraging the free practice of journalism. We are proud to present the following Top Tech Journalists, who were selected based on their leadership and vital contributions to their publications, their readers, and the broader business and high-technology communities. Nominations are based not only on the prestige of the publication, but on the contributions the individual has made to ensuring ethics, leadership, and transparency in journalism. Not only do these professionals report the news, they know the latest details of emerging stories, behind-the-scenes influences, trends, and the impacts to those involved – sharing their depth of reporting through their publications and large social followings. The result: The Top Tech Journalists Awards, made up of stellar reporters across digital, print, and broadcast mediums who cover everything from Apple to zero-day vulnerability.
Sean Gallagher is the IT editor and national security editor at Ars Technica. A University of Wisconsin grad, he wrote his first program in high school on a DEC PDP-10, and his first database app on a dual-floppy Apple II. Sean’s first paid writing gig was producing “supplemental content” for Microprose’s Gunship 2000 and F-117 Stealth Fighter 2.0 game manuals. A former naval officer, Sean served aboard the USS Iowa (BB-61) and at a river patrol boat squadron— where the discovery of his computer skills landed him the assignments of network administrator and computer security officer. Aside from a few dark years as a systems integrator and a stint as Ziff Davis Enterprise’s director of IT strategy, Sean has been either in the review lab or on a tech beat for most of the last two decades. Gallagher has over 20 years of tech journalism experience, from test lab to news beats. He is the winner of two American Society of Business Publication Editors awards and one Neal award. Past positions include Managing Editor, InformationWeek Labs; Technology Editor, Baseline Magazine; Editor-in-Chief of Defense Systems.
In a recent Ars Technica article called “Not So IDLE Hands,” Gallagher discusses partnerships that have formed between the FBI and companies to prevent data loss and theft. In this piece, Sean uses credible industry sources and his expertise in this particular area to describe the proactive measures being taken by the U.S. government to stop internal and external data threats from hurting companies as well as the individuals whose data they possess.
Sean’s writing is unique in that it leads the way for conversational media, Ars Technica’s answer to readers’ “need and desire for fresh voices, informed reporting, and reader engagement. Sean is not afraid of wit or of posting strongly held opinions, providing thoughtful work for readers, never devolving into dogma, but simply providing “measured judgments and carefully relayed contexts.” This enables the Ars community (one of the original online communities, forming in 1998) to provide feedback and to participate in conversations around every article. From covering the FBI to Louisiana’s ransomware disaster, to Tesla’s Cybertruck, Gallagher is a journalist to watch.
Christina Farr is a technology and health reporter for CNBC.com in San Francisco. She most recently was a senior writer at Fast Company, covering biotech and health-tech for digital and print, and an Apple reporter at Reuters News. She hails from London, UK, and is a graduate of Stanford’s School of Journalism. Farr is an award-winning journalist who has worked as an editor, beat reporter, writer, and speaker. Farr is known for diving deep into the intersection of health and technology, “exploring how policy changes have opened up both opportunities and risks for Silicon Valley.” Farr has freelanced for such publications as USA Today, Mashable, and The Telegraph, and her work for Reuters appeared in the New York Times and Yahoo News. She was raised in London, UK, and received graduate degrees from University College London and Stanford University.
Farr has recently published a number of articles on the impact technology have on digital health and the way doctors and other healthcare professionals approach diagnoses, treatment, and other important aspects of medicine. In these articles, she clearly lays out the challenges that come with medical professionals and the way emerging technologies can help or hinder the way we treat illness. Farr also tackles the innovative companies who seek to bridge the gaps in communication and product development many companies face.
Farr is especially detailed when she scouts and sources stories, always wanted to frame the story around people, versus companies, products, or specific technical aspects. She sources her own stories and does not rely on pitches from public relations professionals unless they are exclusive to her, which makes her reporting unique, often allowing her to be the first to report on breaking news or a new scoop. From doctors using social media, to Costco’s updated prescription services, to Apple’s digital health reporting, Farr is a reporter to watch.
Roger Cheng is the executive editor overseeing the coverage of Apple, Samsung, Amazon, Netflix, and more for CNET News. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade. When he’s not furiously editing or writing, he’s catching up on the latest Netflix shows or some badly needed sleep — often at the same time. Prior to joining CNET, Cheng covered the mobile and telecom beats at the Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. I spent a decade there, and remember when copper lines and DSL access were a big issue in the (mostly) wired telecom industry.
In 2019, Robert took a special interest in the development of 5G and reflected his opinions in a number of articles that provide excellent commentary on how the technology was developed and launched into the consumer markets. Cheng’s commentary combines features and his knowledge of the technology landscape to highlight the potential impact new launches have on consumers while indicting networks, carriers, and other tech giants for taking advantage of people for profit. Cheng’s perspective and candor are a welcome addition to the conversation about 5G.
It is Cheng’s sense of humor and personality that brings his coverage to life, whether it is an article on Apple or Samsung, or anything in-between. Cheng covers big tech and the tech giants, with a focus on how all of it impacts our lives, shining a light on accessibility tech and its benefits. Cheng is a self-proclaimed geek-at-heart who loves writing about what’s new in tech and its potential impacts, both positive and negative.
Violet Blue is a freelance investigative reporter on hacking and cybercrime, as well as a noted columnist. She is an advisor to Without My Consent and a member of the Internet Press Guild. Ms. Blue has made regular appearances on CNN and The Oprah Winfrey Show and is frequently interviewed, quoted, and featured in a variety of outlets including BBC, Newsweek, and The Wall Street Journal. She has authored and edited award-winning, best-selling books in eight translations and was the San Francisco Chronicle’s sex columnist. Her conference appearances include ETech, LeWeb, CCC, and the Forbes Brand Leadership Conference, plus two Google Tech Talks. The London Times named Blue one of “40 bloggers who really count.” Ms. Blue is the author of The Smart Girl’s Guide to Privacy and How to Be A Digital Revolutionary.
Violet is the author and editor of many award-winning, bestselling books that have won numerous awards and translated into 8 languages. Blue’s newest book is “The Smart Girl’s Guide to Privacy.” Her 2006 book “The Smart Girl’s Guide to Porn” is excerpted on The Oprah Winfrey website. Blue connected with an audience of over 4 million readers a month with her San Francisco Chronicle column “Open Source Sex.”
What makes Blue’s reporting so vibrant and relevant is that she is quite outspoken and controversial. She claims to have “lost a domain to Libya, has been yelled at by Steve Jobs, and was the first female podcaster. Ms. Blue is well known for breaking news stories at the intersection of cybercrime and activism, as well as the impact of technology on at-risk populations.” She is an educator, speaker, crisis counselor, and volunteer NGO trainer well known for breaking news stories at the intersection of cybercrime and activism, as well as the impact of technology on at-risk populations. “She was first to break the stories of Wikipedia’s paid-editing scandal; the hacking of US Government institutions such as The Federal Bank and Federal Sentencing website by Anonymous; the Google “real name” (“nymwars”) debacle; Snapchat’s database hack, and many more stories.
Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business websites. Sean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast, and tinkerer, and has been known to spend his spare time immersed in the study of the Klingon language and satellite pictures of Area 51. He has pulled Token Ring, configured NetWare, and has been known to compile his own Linux kernel. He consults with industry and media organizations on technology issues.
As more and more companies and organizations experience and deal with the ramifications of data breaches and cyber attacks, Sean has taken up the mantle of being a leading voice on the importance of cybersecurity and data protection. He has written articles in recent years detailing the impact of breaches on individuals, and how companies can thrive as cloud computing continues to grow and expand.
Kerner averages 30 articles a month and bills himself as internet and an advertising industry professional and a ‘hack’ in more than one sense. He is noted as an outstanding reporter who brings essential insights to tech stories that people both want and need to hear. He has extensive knowledge of the volatile security industry and has spent many years keeping eWEEK readers up to date on the latest news and trends. Sean’s deep understanding of markets like the cyber-security market and his contacts within the space illustrate his expertise and work ethic.
Cade Metz is a technology correspondent with The New York Times, covering artificial intelligence, driverless cars, robotics, virtual reality, and other emerging areas. Previously, he was a senior staff writer with Wired magazine. He recently signed with Penguin Dutton in the United States and Random House in the United Kingdom to write a non-fiction narrative about the tiny clan of AI visionaries who are rapidly changing our world. Metz is a former WIRED senior staff writer covering Google, Facebook, artificial intelligence, bitcoin, data centers, computer chips, programming languages, and other ways the world is changing.
In his 2019 article “Internet Companies Prepare to Fight the ‘Deepfake’ Future,” Metz’s AI expertise is on full display. In this piece, he talks about studies done by Google and others to identify false videos and details accounts of actors being shot in different places, then switched to “fakeout” viewers by editing footage using artificial intelligence. By highlighting this study, Cade calls out the urgency that technology companies need to have to quickly and more efficiently identify fake videos that are shared on social platforms and forums with the intent to scare, coerce, or deceive people on the Internet. Metz’s story shows why we as citizens must keep our guard up, and why it is OK to be skeptical of what we read online.
Metz is the definition of an industry expert. He reads technical papers for fun — and understands them. He is the type of person who takes artificial intelligence classes with Facebookers and puts in the work so he can readily explain the difference between machine learning and deep learning to technology neophytes. Cade’s knowledge of technology springs from covering the topic for almost two decades, first at PC Magazine, and later at science and technology website The Register. As a journalist, he does an excellent job at translating esoteric technologies into plain English.
Kara Swisher is the co-founder and editor-at-large of Recode, producer, and host of the Recode Decode and Pivot podcasts, and co-executive producer of the Code Conference series. She also has a special series on MSNBC called Revolution on the impact of technology on work, society, and more, and is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. Swisher co-founded Recode and, before that, co-produced and co-hosted the Wall Street Journal’s “D: All Things Digital” conference series (now called the Code conference) with Walt Mossberg starting in 2003. It was, and still is, the country’s premier conference on tech and media, with interviewees such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, the Google leadership, Tim Cook, Jack Dorsey, and many other leading players. She and Mossberg were also the co-executive editors of a tech and media website, AllThingsD.com, founded in 2007.
Earlier in her career, Swisher worked as a reporter at the Washington Post and as an editor at the City Paper of Washington, DC. She received her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and her graduate degree at Columbia University’s School of Journalism. Swisher is also the author of aol.com: How Steve Case Beat Bill Gates, Nailed the Netheads and Made Millions in the War for the Web, published by Times Business Books in July 1998. The sequel, There Must Be a Pony in Here Somewhere: The AOL Time Warner Debacle and the Quest for a Digital Future was published in the fall of 2003 by Crown Business Books.
What makes Swisher stand out is her adherence to journalistic ethics codes, transparency, and independence in journalism. Newsweek has said, “many regards [Swisher] as Silicon Valley’s premier journalist”. In a profile headlined “Kara Swisher is Silicon Valley’s Most Feared and Well-Liked Journalist. How Does That Work?” New York Magazine said Swisher is one of the “major power brokers of tech reporting” whose “combination of access and toughness has made [her] a preeminent arbiter of status in a Silicon Valley.”
Sarah currently works as a writer for TechCrunch, after having previously spent over three years at ReadWriteWeb. Prior to her work as a reporter, Sarah worked in I.T. across a number of industries, including banking, retail and software. TechCrunch is dedicated to obsessively profiling and reviewing new Internet products and companies. In addition to covering new startups, TechCrunch profiles existing companies that are making an impact (commercial and/or cultural) on the new web space. Previously, she worked for ReadWriteWeb.com, a technology news publication then syndicated daily by The New York Times. Prior to that, she freelanced for Microsoft as a contractor for the blog formerly known as Channel 10 (a Channel 9 property). While in I.T., Sarah worked in a number of different industries, including banking, furniture, and software – a diversity of experience which has given her a wide perspective on technology trends and consumer adoption behavior.
Sarah has become a leading voice on what companies are doing to constantly innovate and add features and free upgrades to their devices, applications, and software. One shining example of this is her article on how Facebook integrated its dating function into Instagram and Facebook stories. While she highlights the essential functions of the new features and updates, Perez always shifts her focus back to the consumer and how they should be considered in all matters by these technology giants.
Sarah is noted as “consistently delivers fresh and interesting content on all of the blogs she writes for. She’s engaging and a continuously emerging talent on the Internet. She provides her audience with great insights and perspectives on web trends, news, and services.”
Dieter Bohn is the Executive Editor for The Verge and one of the founding editors. Previously, he founded and was the Editor in Chief for the Mobile Nations websites, including iMore and Android Central. Dieter has a BA in English and Philosophy from the University of St. Thomas and was a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of Minnesota. He has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, and NPR. Dieter has been described as follows: “Dieter possesses the traits crucial to any editor: he knows his field inside and out, he understands its history and keeps current with the latest trends, and he’s not only willing to help improve his writers’ work, but he’s mastered the art of working around the typically massive egos involved to do so. As any writer worth their punctuation knows, such an editor is invaluable.”
His show, The Vergecast, is the flagship podcast of The Verge and “your life.’ Weekly you will find Nilay Patel, Dieter Bohn, and Paul Miller (theverge.com/the-vergecast) making sense of the week’s tech news with help from The Verge’s diverse and wide-ranging staff focusing on fun, deeply nerdy, often off-the-rails conversation about what’s happening now (and next) in technology and gadgets.
From Google and Microsoft product reviews to algorithms, Bohn is an expert at taking a deep look at a product’s makeup and assessing its viability in the market and what it will mean to consumers. He maintains his ethics at every level, and able to navigate the complex, fast-paced world of technology in a way that puts readers at the forefront of innovation and understanding the next big thing.
Megan Greenwell is the editor of WIRED.com. Previously she was the editor in chief of Deadspin; a features editor at publications including New York and ESPN the Magazine; and a reporter covering education, philanthropy, and the Iraq war at The Washington Post. In addition, Megan is a co-director of the Princeton Summer Journalism Program for low-income high school students. A Bay Area native, she is based (mostly) in New York. Greenwell joined Wired from Deadspin, where she served as editor in chief. Previously, Greenwell helped launch digital features programs at Esquire and New York Magazine’s The Cut, edited investigations and features for ESPN the Magazine, and covered the war in Iraq from Baghdad for The Washington Post.
In recent years, Greenwell has tackled issues related to elevating women in the workplace and how companies should view quality in the digital age. Two of these articles include, “Wait. Elevating Women Means I Have to Pay Them” and “I Buy Kegs for the Office. Do I Have to Buy Tampons Too?” where she highlights the progress women have made in the 21st Century, while also offering a fresh perspective on the long road ahead for true equality. Greenwell uses her authoritative voice to call companies to action to make changes that will truly elevate women and how that elevation enriches companies and makes them poised for growth.
You will want to read Greenwell’s award-winning editing work and previous digital features. She has been nominated for two National Magazine Awards, and a GLAAD Media Award, and she was part of the Washington Post team that won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news reporting for its coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings. Megan is highly regarded as a brilliant editor and news manager, working with leadership teams to establish and execute editorial strategy across many digital platforms.